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Posted Wed Dec 15 2010: from Los Angeles Times:
Livestock in U.S. gobble up the antibiotics
The U.S.-raised animals we eat consumed about 29 million pounds of antibiotics in the last year alone, according to a first-ever Food and Drug Administration accounting of antimicrobial drug use by the American livestock industry... Farmers feed these medications to the animals they raise for market in an effort to prevent disease from spreading among flocks of poultry and herds of livestock living in crowded and often unsanitary conditions. The medications also promote faster growth in many animals. The ubiquitous use of these medications is controversial because they are used to counter the effects of raising livestock in conditions that are unhealthy and widely considered cruel. But they represent a major public health concern too: the widespread administration of antibiotics to prevent infections in animals has made those same antibiotics less effective in fighting off disease in animals and in humans. That is because, when under constant bombardment by existing antibiotic medications, the viruses that cause disease evolve at an accelerated rate just to stay alive. The results: new viruses that are resistant to existing antibiotics, and a population that is is increasingly vulnerable to them.
[Read more stories about: antibiotic resistance, corporate farming, health impacts]

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