Animals raised for food live in herds or flocks, share water and feed troughs, and seek close contact with one another by licking, laying on each other and even rubbing snouts and noses. This can spread illnesses rapidly. Waiting for animals to show symptoms of an illness before beginning treatment is often too late. Swift action can prevent the spread of disease and result in animals receiving fewer antibiotics than they would have had they not received preventive medication.
New Food and Drug Administration guidance that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017, will end the use of antibiotics important to human medicine to promote growth in animals or to improve feed efficiency, and require veterinary oversight for the use of medically important antibiotics in animal agriculture.
The United Nations General Assembly passed a declaration aiming to slow down the spread of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. The U.S. is well underway in following the U.N.’s directive. Animal health companies are eliminating the use of antibiotics important to human medicine for the purpose of promoting growth in animals. In many cases, these antibiotics will only be available under a Veterinary Feed Directive, essentially a prescription from a veterinarian, starting the first of the year.