Bad for humans – Humans aren’t the only ones who need to get off antibiotics. But the total number of antibiotics used in farming is getting bigger every day, and 70% of them are used in animals (mostly cattle and chickens) that are healthy but are vulnerable because they live in crowded and unsanitary conditions.

Scientists have linked nontherapeutic use of antibiotics to antibiotic resistance in bacteria that infect humans for many years. 90,000 Americans die each year from superbug infections they get in the hospital.

In the April 17th edition of the New York Times, Donald Kennedy writes, “More than 30 years ago, when I was commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, we proposed eliminating the use of penicillin and two other antibiotics to promote growth in animals raised for food. When agribusiness interests persuaded Congress not to approve that regulation, we saw firsthand how strong politics can trump wise policy and good science.

“Now that Congress has pushed through its complicated legislation to reform the health insurance system, it could take one more simple step to protect the health of all Americans. This one wouldn’t raise any taxes or make any further changes to our health insurance system, so it could be quickly passed by Congress with an outpouring of bipartisan support. Or could it?”

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