cows in a line at a dairy cafo

Urgent Action Needed to Keep Antibiotics Working!

May 1, 2019 | Alexis Baden-Mayer

Organic Consumers Association

By 2050, 10 million people could die from drug-resistant diseases every year—that’s more than the number of people who die from cancer each year.


By just 2030, antimicrobial-resistance could force up to 24 million people into extreme poverty, and trigger a global economic crisis on a scale comparable to the one last seen in 2008-2009.


What’s the biggest driver of this global public health crisis? The reckless use of antibiotics on factory farms.


TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Healthy farm animals shouldn’t get antibiotics that sick people need!


On April 29, the United Nations Ad hoc Interagency Coordinating Group on Antimicrobial Resistance issued its sternest warnings to date about the global crisis caused by the reckless over-use of antibiotics. According to the report:


Currently, at least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases, including 230,000 people who die from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. More and more common diseases, including respiratory tract infections, sexually transmitted infections and urinary tract infections, are untreatable; lifesaving medical procedures are becoming much riskier, and our food systems are increasingly precarious.  


What’s the Trump Administration doing about this problem?


Trump would rather protect Big Pharma’s $5-billion market for animal drugs. That’s why he’s opposing the World Health Organization’s attempts to end the “preventive” practice of giving medically important antibiotics to healthy farm animals.


Nearly 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used for animals on factory farms, and about 70 percent of those are considered medically important.


Animals on factory farms are fed antibiotics on a regular basis, in an attempt to prevent illnesses caused by the stress of being forced to live in overcrowded, filthy living conditions.


The meat industry claims this practice is necessary for the health of the animals. But there’s another reason for the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms—many of those drugs help the animals grow bigger, faster. And the industrial meat industry doesn’t want to give up this side benefit.


Residues from antibiotics and other drugs routinely fed to factory farm animals accumulate in the animals, and ultimately end up in meat, milk and eggs. They also accumulate in the soil and pollute waterways.


How could this affect your health in the near future? Here’s one example: Let’s say you’re diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI). In the past, your doctor would prescribe an antibiotic and the infection would clear up. But now, some of those infections are no longer responding to antibiotics. One study found that 6 percent of the 150 million UTIs diagnosed each year were antibiotic-resistant.


It’s time to stop protecting industrial factory farm corporations and Big Pharma, and start protecting public health instead.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Healthy farm animals shouldn’t get antibiotics that sick people need!