The Government may soon ban agricultural uses of some antibiotics. On Thursday, Judge Theodore H. Katz issued an order meant to prevent the wide usage of popular antibiotics (think penicillin and tetracycline) on livestock. His argument, and the FDA’s as well, is that the use of these antibiotics in livestock reduces their effectiveness in humans; as well, the over saturation of these antibiotics supposedly gives birth to antibiotic-resistant bacteria (or “superbugs”). Since 1977, the FDA has attempted to limit the widespread use of agricultural antibiotics for these reasons, however, they were unable to act on their plans. For a long time antibiotics have not been used to prevent infection or disease but to promote growth in livestock.Both Judge Katz and the FDA want these uses to no longer be indiscriminate but to only apply in the prevention of diseases. As evidence grows for their cause, with the development of these antibiotic-resistant diseases, it seems likely that the widespread usage of certain antibiotics will be prohibited in livestock. This may vastly upset the antibiotic industry (even 80% of antibiotics purchased in the US are used on animals), however, the manufacturers may always request a hearing to prove that the uses of their drugs are safe.
By: Steven Angueira