Antibiotic Action!

December 12, 2013

Brown CowsHere’s something you can write home about: the FDA has finally taken a step to reverse antibiotic resistance (albeit a light-footed one).

Antibiotic manufacturers have been asked to stop labelling their products as usable to enhance animal growth—making it illegal to use them as a preventative treatment in animals. Instead, ranchers will need a prescription for their sick livestock, just like humans do.

While this is great, it’s a voluntary action on the part of the companies. Two have signed up so far. It also doesn’t control much on the retail end. Given how willing doctors are to prescribe antibiotics and get you out the door, I imagine there will be many vets doing the same, or writing out blank prescriptions as a favor. But at least this is a start.

If we do manage to stop (or even drastically reduce) preventative antibiotic use, we could cut back on superbug growth. How? It’s pretty energy intensive to be antibiotic resistant, so without their environmental presence many bacteria will revert back to their less threatening forms. We’ve already seen this happen in other countries!

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