The Food and Drug Administration releases animal antibiotic sales data annually. The report for 2016 shows decreases in two key categories: sales for livestock and poultry, and medically important antibiotics. Although the latest report shows a reduction, we need to focus on using antibiotics responsibly, which in agriculture means to use less while preserving the ability to responsibly use antibiotics when needed.
Some antibiotics are approved for use in animals, others in people, and still others in both animals and people (also called shared class antibiotics), but the majority of antibiotics used in animals are non-critical to human medicine.
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.