Continue discussion on antibiotic use on farms
February 10, 2017
It's great to see educators and farmers discussing the use of antibiotics on farms as mentioned in your recent article "Colorado Farm Show expert: Communication between farmers, consumers key when discussing antibiotics in livestock, Jan 26."
The overuse of antibiotics in any setting breeds bacteria that can withstand the antibiotics we have to combat them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that at least 23,000 Americans die each year from antibiotic resistant infections and millions more get sick. That's why it's important we stop any misuse of antibiotics, including the routine use of these drugs on livestock and poultry.
The new guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration do not prohibit farmers from giving antibiotics routinely to animals that are not sick. To preserve antibiotics and protect public health, we need the industry to move away from routine antibiotic use altogether, for both growth promotion and disease prevention purposes.
Restaurants are some of the largest buyers of meat products in the U.S., and if they commit to purchasing only meats raised without routine antibiotics it can shift the marketplace towards protecting our life-saving medicines, rather than putting them at risk.
McDonalds and Subway have already taken steps to phase out unnecessary antibiotic use from their meat supply chains. Now we need more restaurants like KFC, the world's largest chain of fried chicken restaurants, to follow suit.
I hope that farmers and educators continue the conversation about antibiotics on farms and that they will help us to protect these life-saving medicines by calling on KFC to serve chicken raised without the routine use of antibiotics. ❖