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Problem with Antibiotic Injections for Cows

Updated on April 28, 2015

FDA Report

For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration released a report on antibiotic use in factory farms. The total number is at nearly 80% of all the antibiotics used in the country, some 29,000,000 pounds of drugs were given to livestock in 2009. They are primarily used to prevent illness, rather than treat it.

Though it was once common practice to treat infected animals with appropriate medications, it is now an industry standard to load these animals full of antibiotics before any disease sets in, as a preventative measure. That is a similar action to your mother giving you penicillin each day before school to prevent an infection. As of April, 2012, the FDA now states a veterinarian must write a prescription for antibiotics, which is an attempt to remedy this problem. The only assurance you really have that the meat is free of antibiotics is to buy organic meat that is stamped with the government seal.

Antibiotics Given to Cattle

source commons wickimedia
source commons wickimedia

Farmers Giving Antibiotics

Farmers have used antibiotics for decades, even in healthy animals, to promote faster growth and prevent disease that could sicken livestock held in confined quarters. The farmers give lower doses to healthy animals and higher doses of antibiotics to sick animals. The benefit: is cheaper, more plentiful meat for consumers.

However, a dispute has erupted over a federal proposal which recommends antibiotics only when animals are actually sick. Public health experts in recent years say overuse and misuse of antibiotics poses serious public health threats by creating new strains of bacteria that are difficult to treat in both animals and humans.

Roast Beef Sliced

sopurce lickr
sopurce lickr

Meat Industry Beliefs

The meat industry argues that the draft guidelines from the FDA are premature. They believe there's not enough evidence to show a clear link between use of antibiotics in livestock and health problems in humans.

The Congressional relations director for the American Farm Bureau is Kelli Ludlum. He stated," what the FDA is doing, trying to restrict the use of antibiotics and require additional veterinary oversight, goes beyond where the science, their own science has gone." In the video below you will see the meat industry's opinion.

Why are antibiotics used in livestock production

We Depend on Farmers for Food Safety

Medical and Public Health Opinions

This past summer, the FDA issued draft guidelines, which recommended using antibiotics only in acute medical situations and under the supervision of a veterinarian. The guidelines state there is a clear risk to human health, are only recommendations but a first step toward possible regulations to limit the use of antibiotics in the United States.

The medical community is unhappy with the FDA recommendations stating, they are weak and voluntary. After decades of study the FDA should just issue appropriate regulations.

Medical and public health experts say the antibiotic issue has been studied in United States, Canada, Europe and other countries for 40 years. The studies led to the European Union issuing rules more than 10 years ago limiting the use of antibiotics in livestock. Europe adopted even more stringent guidelines in 2006.

Roast Chicken

source allrecipes
source allrecipes

Fear of Infection

Many are paying attention to the bacteria that could be developing on farms because of the overuse of antibiotics and then, resulting infections in humans. It is worth repeating that the more we are exposed to antibiotics – because they do affect the meat, eggs and dairy products we buy, the less effective those drugs will be when we really need them.

On farms they already have difficulty in treating strains of E. Coli and salmonella, which has evolved in recent years.

Denmark Study

CDC director Thomas R. Frieden wrote that "there is compelling evidence of a clear link between antibiotic use in animals and antibiotic resistance in humans." Tom Chiller, a CDC medical director, stated this: "Scientists have documented studies and data that show when you use antibiotics in animals, it creates resistant bacteria."

Studies show that the resistant bacteria survive on retail meats. The best evidence we have for the link between animals and humans is a study from Denmark. In the study, a growth – "promoting antibiotic was used only in animals and not humans. The animals developed a resistant bacteria that went through the meat supply and showed up causing human infection." Despite this evidence the meat industry remains skeptical of such studies, which do not clearly identify animals as the source of antibiotic resistance in humans.

Antibiotic-free Animals

In Conclusion

I certainly hope the the new FDC guidelines as of April, will establish firm guidelines to stop the farmers from giving antibiotics to well animals. We already know that giving human beings too many antibiotics have caused super-bugs to grow that are difficult to treat.

Europe is 10 years ahead of us in stopping the antibiotic use. The Denmark's study is proof that antibiotics should be used only in sick animals. For your health, if you eat meat the safest buy is organic meat and free range chicken.The problem is organic meat is a little bit pricey for some people. It is better to have some meatless meals during the week and fish, than the organic meat becomes more affordable.


Submit a Comment

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

    I enjoy a good steak once in awhile, but this very well-written information is worrisome, Pamela.

    Too much of anything, especially antibiotics in one form or another, is not a good thing.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    drbj, We have always eaten meat in moderation but after reading the statistics I'm very concerned also. I appreciate your comment.

  • Mentalist acer profile image

    Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

    Using anti-biotics to grow larger cattle is illogical to say the least,thanks for sharing this concern Pamela.;)

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Mentalist Acer, I agree with you and that's why I wrote this hub. I know they also give chicken estrogen which can't be healthy for anyone. Thanks so much for your comment.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    Scary stuff! I guess I'll buy organic meat and cook vegetarian food more often. Thanks for sharing this, Pamela.

  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    Hello my dear friend, the more I see, read and know about livestock the less I can eat it, I gag when I try to eat me, we are such a primitive people, they way we treat live stock. rate this way up great hub love you darlin, peace & love darskki

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Om Paramapoonya, yes I do like the idea either. Thanks so much for your comments.

    Darski, I know I hate to even think about the way they treat livestock. I seldom eat meat anymore and I'm trying to go vegetarian. I appreciate your comments. Peace and love to you.

  • cardelean profile image

    cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

    Great hub! Voted up and useful. I saw Food Inc. a few years ago and that really put things in perspective. Even my meat with a side of meat eating husband thought it was pretty gross. I have since tried to cut back on the amount of meat we eat using the exact techiniques you talked about, more seafood and free range/organic. You are right though, it gets to be very expensive and sometimes is hard to find. Thanks for the info.

  • rpalulis profile image

    rpalulis 6 years ago from NY

    Excellent hub Pamela, I can't wait to share this one. Anti bacterial resistance is becoming more and more of a problem, I do hope our country will jump on board as some of these other countries have already.

    Again- Excellent and thanks for sharing this.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    cardelean, it sounds like you've made the same changes that I've made in our family. I appreciate your comments.

    rpalilus, I sure hope our country jumps on board also as the proof certainly seems to be available in Europe. I very much appreciate your comment.

  • Sam9999 profile image

    Sam9999 6 years ago

    I remember now why I opted for a vegan diet. Very interesting hub.

  • fucsia profile image

    fucsia 6 years ago

    This is one reason why I chose a vegan diet. The available data show only a small part of the problem. Our public health is severely at risk ... And what about our social morality?

    The argument is very important, we must not underestimate it. Thanks for sharing.

  • JY3502 profile image

    John Young 6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

    Scary stuff Pam! Good, useful hub.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Sam, a vegan diet is a good healthy diet and after reading this hub I imagine you are very glad that you made that change. Thanks for the comments.

    Fuchsia, I also believe we are at risk. I've changed a vegetarian diet but not big and diet as of yet. I did try vegan diet for six weeks and felt great but I don't like tofu which made it difficult. Thanks for your comment.

    JY, It really is. I appreciate your comments.

  • prasetio30 profile image

    prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Good morning (Indonesia time), Pamela. You give us valuable information. I liked your presentation. You describe this very well. Thanks for writing this, my dear friend. Vote up. God bless you.


  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

    Great stuff Pamela and all too much that we do with our food chain that is so stupid. I've been reading about all kinds of things the FDA just happens to 'conveniently overlook' in their studies such as excluding bad results, etc. I swear it makes no sense to me - that old saying 'you are what you eat' - apparently the FDA hasn't heard of this!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    prasetio, Maybe the situation is different in Indonesia. I hope so. I appreciate your comments so much. God Bless you too.

    Audry, I think the farmers must have a lot of pull with the FDA or why would that happen? Thanks for your comments.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

    It's not just the farmers though - I read an article recently about genetically engineered salmon - will do a hub on it one day soon. It's ridiculous - oh let's just negate the fact that this percent are deformed? The FDA just passes it through. That is the frightening part for me as a consumer - what am I eating?

  • oceansnsunsets profile image

    Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

    Pamela, I hope the use of these drugs lessens over time. We need to stop over medicating, and I am sure that more awareness like an article like this can only help matters, so thank you for sharing it! Well written and informative.

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    Scary to think what farmers will do to protect their livestock at the expense of the larger picture. Enlightening information for consumers, definitely. Rated up.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Audrey, That is really frightening. The FDA is supposed to protect protect us I really hate it they are genetically engineering anything and especially salmon as it so good for you.I appreciate your comments.

    Oceansnsunsets, I think people in groups are going to have to start complaining about livestock receiving antibiotics and other drugs. I've read that chickens get estrogen and it is possible that is the reason we see very young girls well-developed something that wasn't like that a generation ago. I appreciate your comments.

    Anginwu, Yes, I agree with you. My family likes to eat some meat but I eat almost none. This is something we have to be concerned about. Thanks so much for your comments

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

    Do they do ever anything right apart from grabbing money? Even with new guidelines, they always find a backdoor.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Hello, I hate it but I think you're exactly right. It's really very frustrating. Thanks for your comments.

  • carolina muscle profile image

    carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    Yes, this is really getting to be serious.. fine post!!!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Chris, I'm glad to see you back. This is a serious situation and I appreciate your comment.

  • MysteryPlanet profile image

    MysteryPlanet 5 years ago

    I truly believe that in the near future we will be facing nightmares with disease control because of our constant abuse and misuse of antibiotics. VERY informative hub you have here. Voted up and rated

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    MysteryPlanet, I fear you are right. I very much appreciate your comments.

  • Rosemay50 profile image

    Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

    Hi Pam. You wrote this almost 2 years ago, it would be interesting to know if there has been any change in that time.

    It is getting quite scary when we actually find just what is going into our food.

    I enjoyed your interview BTW

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

    Rosemary, I appreciate you stopping by and reading the hub. I will do a little research to see if there have been any recent changes, but it hasn't been too long since I read these same facts. It is scary to not know what is going into our food. I also wonder about this genetic engineered food. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview and I appreciate your comments.

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 4 years ago from America

    I don't eat much beef but I love chicken. I have always worried about what was in it. My sister works at a chicken factory and she said if I knew everything I wouldn't eat it at all. There's always something wrong with our seafood and fresh fish. Taking worms out of fish and than selling it makes me sick but they do it. Pretty soon we will all be thin because we won't want to eat anything. Great hub. Voted uP!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

    moonlake, I love chicken also. I wonder about much of the food we eat anymore. Thanks for stopping by and for your comments.

  • Hyphenbird profile image

    Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Hello Pamela. Every day I become more thrilled to be a vegan. Reading something like this makes me feel sick. The poor animals must feel awful and all of that contaminates their flesh and I believe makes humans sick when we consume it. The shocking rate of illness and disease in Americans should wake us up to the fact that something is wrong. Thank you for this great article.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

    Hyphenbird, I can understand your feelings. I am almost ready to make the move as I have cut back on meat and just eat fish and chicken now. I agree with you that the animals must feel awful and that disease in America must be considered. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • profile image

    SilverGenes 4 years ago

    You really brought out some excellent points, Pamela. Going meatless sounds better and better with everything I read or see, like Food Inc. That cloning business that creates meat in a lab would take care of the antibiotic issue but opens a whole other level of 'eewww' for me!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

    SilverGenes, I feel the same way. Genetic engineering sounds a little scary. Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your comments.

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