It’s a common practice for farmers who run large, industrial livestock operations to supplement their animals with antibiotics and antimicrobials to keep them from getting sick. However, the administration of such drugs may be a factor behind antibiotic-resistanct bacteria in both humans and animals.
Moreover, a team of researchers from the National Food Institute of Denmark has found that the doses of antimicrobials being used may far exceed what is necessary to prevent disease.
Denmark is the world’s largest exporter of pork, yet they use less than one-fifth the amount of antimicrobials in their pork per kilogram than U.S. farmers. The authors also noted that using vaccines in fish farms could reduce the usage of antibiotics by 20 times the current amount.
“Substantial reduction of antimicrobial use in livestock is feasible and necessary if we want to preserve the power of antimicrobials for future generations of both animals and humans,” said study authors.
The researchers said that avian influenza H5N1, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and salmonella are all diseases that originated in animals.