Thursday, 29 May 2014

Concerns grow over farm drugs used like 'sweets'

By Matt McGrath
Environment correspondent, BBC News

The widespread use of antibiotics on farms without medical supervision has been condemned at a meeting of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

There are particular concerns about the US where authorities say it contributes significantly to resistance.

There are also worries that a new US-EU trade deal will see a watering down of tougher European laws on their use.

The OIE says it has tried to broker a compromise between the two regions.

But so far this has been unsuccessful.

It's estimated that 80% of the antibiotics purchased in the US are used on farm animals.

The drugs are given as prophylactics to livestock to help them avoid illnesses that are transmitted easily between beasts confined in large-scale feed lots.

The drugs are also used to boost the animal's weight.
But the large-scale use has prompted concerns that microbes will develop resistance.

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