Almost all (90 percent) of the 26.5 million pounds of antibiotics estimated to be used in the United States as feed additives each year occurs in 23 states, according to a report released by the environmental group Environmental Defense. The activist group is using the report to urge support of federal legislation to phase out use of medically important antibiotics as feed additives.

The national report released Wednesday estimates livestock producers annually use 26.5 million pounds of antibiotics as feed additives – more than seven times as much as U.S. physicians prescribe to their patients.

North Carolina and Iowa, the nation's top pork-producing states, led in antibiotic use in livestock feed, with each state using about 3 million pounds annually, according to the report.

Pork producers account for 69 percent of all medically important drugs used as feed additives, while poultry producers account for 19 percent and beef producers for 12 percent.

The estimates in the report were prepared using new data from the USDA on numbers of animals per county, and multiplying those figures by estimates previously developed by the Union of Concerned Scientists on the quantity of feed-additive antibiotics consumed per animal. The UCS presented national estimates, but not state or county estimates.

According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, the movement to ban antibiotics is not based on complete science. The Center for Consumer Freedom says that Dr. Ian Phillips of the University of London, speaking of the ban on antibiotics in Europe, noted that using the precautionary principle to ban antibiotics “set aside scientific evidence, and so made decisions about antibiotics that have in fact damaged health and not provided any benefits to human health.”

Follow this link to see the report.

PRNewswire, Drovers Alert