It’s in February in
But if some lawmakers and groups opposed to modern food-animal production have their way, pork producers like Spronk won’t be able to use antibiotics to treat pigs. They claim the drugs are overused and that this is causing antibiotic resistance in humans.
But news reports linking hog farms and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (
Without certain antibiotics, animal well-being would suffer and pork producers likely would see higher herd mortality rates. In
The negative effects on the
A 2006 report from the
A review of scientific literature finds that antibiotic-resistant bacteria mostly have developed naturally, spontaneously through mutations or by acquiring resistant genes through exchanges with other bacteria.
Despite the uncertainty over the main causes for resistance, groups such as Keep Antibiotics Working, which includes the Humane Society of the
But strong controls on antibiotics used in food-animal production already exist. FDA must approve animal-health drugs before they can be used. The process includes ensuring that a drug is effective and safe for animals, harmless to the environment and safe for human consumption. FDA also sets withdrawal periods for animal-health products, and there are government surveillance programs, including the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, to track resistance trends.
Of course, producers also employ other methods to help reduce antibiotic use, including facility maintenance and biosecurity protocols to prevent illiness.
Unfortunately, perception often is reality, and there’s growing opinion that animal agriculture is to blame for the rise in antibiotic resistance. Pork producers need to let their lawmakers and the public know that they follow industry guidelines on antibiotic use, that they work with their veterinarians to responsibly administer animal-health products, that antibiotics are only one part of a herd-health program, and that antibiotics help them produce safe, nutritious and abundant pork products for consumers worldwide.