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.
The Food and Drug Administration not only has an intensive approval process for drugs for animals that’s similar to the approval human drugs undergo, but the FDA performs additional studies on drugs for food-producing animals not required for human drugs to be sure meat, milk and eggs are safe for us to consume, and that the drugs are safe for the environment. This process is intended to ensure public health.
Comparing animal and human antibiotic use is complicated. That’s why the proper context is so important.