A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

New Concerns about Antibiotics on Farms

Dramatic rise in their use threatens human health

Photo courtesy of The Independent

Three classes of antibiotics that are considered critical to modern medicine are now in danger of being rendered ineffective, according to the World Health Organization.

That’s because their routine use at factory farms is causing the bacteria they’re supposed to destroy to build up resistance and mutate into what are called super-bugs.

The three kinds of antibiotics, called “critically important in human medicine,” are cephalosporins, fluouroquinolones and macrolides. And a new study in Europe shows that their use has increased up to eightfold in the animal population over the past decade.

A few countries in Europe have strict controls on the use of antibiotics in farming. But most have little regulation. In the U.K., for example, the drugs are used routinely in cows to prevent mastitis, an infection of the udder, which occurs frequently in animals that are intensively milked – and could therefore be prevented by more humane treatment.

In the United States, the powerful agriculture lobby has ensured that there is little regulation of antibiotics at factory farms. Instead, a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday to encourage the development of new antibiotics to fight drug-resistant infections.

Read more at The Independent.