Antibiotic use in the United States is commonplace in the nation’s barns and feedlots as growers seek to prevent disease in poultry and pigs and to help them grow faster. But this practice encourages the growth of resistant bacteria that move up the food chain and eventually spawn human infections – many of which are no longer treatable. Recognizing the serious threat posed by antibiotic overuse in animals, the European Union banned antibiotics as growth promoters in 1998 – only allowing their use for the treatment of sick animals in 2006. Similar rules are being considered in the United States as well.
Researchers at CDDEP have been instrumental in clarifying the role of antibiotic use in farm animals in drug-resistant infections in humans, and economic policies to encourage sustainable use of antibiotics in the animal industry.