Antibiotics approved by the FDA for use in food producing animals benefit animals and humans alike.
Medicines, including antibiotics, are an important tool for veterinarians tasked with protecting animal health and preventing suffering from disease.
The benefits of using antibiotics to treat and prevent animal disease extend far beyond the farm. At least one study has shown that even a slight increase in animal-illness rate leads to a greater human-illness rate than the development of antibiotic resistance (Singer et al. 2007).
Food safety begins with healthy animals, continues in meat processing with application of hygienic standards and pathogen reduction technologies, and extends to the handling of the food product in both the market and the home. All of these steps work in tandem as layers of protection to decrease the risk of foodborne illness. Studies have shown that animals that are sub-clinically ill – not outwardly showing signs of illness – can increase bacterial contamination during meat processing. Using of antibiotics to prevent and control these low-level infections is important in helping to reduce this type of contamination.