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    Mounting evidence proves that antibiotic overuse in animal agriculture - especially use in healthy animals - poses a significant threat to public health.
    While public health concerns have focused on antibiotics given to non-sick animals, a related problem is the inappropriate use of critical human medicines to treat sick animals. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics, for example, are used to treat respiratory disease in flocks of poultry. But that use is compromising fluoroquinolones’ effectiveness for treating people suffering from severe cases of food poisoning, according to government experts. Public health concerns have led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to propose a ban on the use of fluoroquinolones in poultry. For more detailed information, visit Fluoroquinolones: Unnecessary Risks.

    In contrast, there has been negligible government action to reduce or eliminate the use of antibiotics in healthy animals in the U.S. to date. Antibiotics are given to non-sick animals both to promote faster growth on less feed, and to compensate for stress and deficient sanitation in the crowded conditions under which such animals are raised. Read more about U.S. Government Involvement on the issue of antibiotic use in animal agriculture.

    The European Experience with antibiotic use in agriculture has differed markedly. The European Union currently bans six classes of antibiotics from being used as growth promoters, while Sweden has banned all antibiotic growth promoters since 1986 and Denmark since the late 1990s. Meat producers continue to thrive in these countries.

    Keep Antibiotics Working opposes the use of antibiotics in healthy animals, especially those important to human medicine. We also believe some antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolones, are simply too important for curing human illness to allow the misuse or overuse in food animals that threatens their effectiveness. Find out Where Other Groups Stand on antibitiotic overuse in agriculture.
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