Animal welfare, food safety and sustainability – there are good reasons animals raised for food are given antibiotics. Responsible use of antibiotics is the key, and procedures are in place to ensure there are no unsafe residues in meat, milk and eggs.
The term “factory farm” (I call it the “double F bomb”) has become a catch-all for everything that some people perceive as being wrong with modern agriculture. A recent New York Times op-ed contains much misinformation about today’s farming technology, the healthfulness of meat, and the environmental impact of producing food from animals.
There’s strong evidence antibiotics used in livestock and poultry are not driving antibiotic resistance in humans, that responsible use of antibiotics minimizes agriculture’s environmental impact, and unsafe antibiotic residue in food from animals is uncommon. While science is the foundation of those findings, and decision-making processes people use to form opinions are complex, it can be discouraging when groups or individuals choose to support science only when it agrees with issues upon which they’ve made up their minds.