Action of the Week: Stop Antibiotic Abuse on Factory Farms!

Widespread antibiotic abuse in the meat industry is leading to resistant superbugs.

Callie Spaide is Participant Media’s Manager of Digital Social Action.

What industry uses the majority of all U.S. antibiotics? Think it’s healthcare and medical professionals? Wrong. It’s the meat industry.

In 2011, beef, pork and poultry producers used 30 million pounds of antibiotics, almost four times the same amount sold to people! Shockingly, the majority of the drugs given to pigs, poultry, and cattle aren’t even used to treat infection. Instead, meat producers use them to increase animal size and compensate for unsanitary conditions on overcrowded farms.

Antibiotic abuse has long-term consequences: Bacteria exposed to small amounts of antibiotics are more likely to develop immunity. As these resistant bacteria multiply, antibiotics become less effective, putting us all at risk.

This is not a new problem—the Food and Drug Administration has been aware of this issue since the late 1970s, but hasn’t taken any meaningful action. This has to end now!

Environmental Working Group is petitioning the House Energy and Commerce Committee to support the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, which would require the FDA to review approvals of antibiotics for nontherapeutic use in food animals and withdraw them if there is a threat to human health. Add your name to the petition and tell Congress that you want healthy, antibiotic-free meat.


Callie Spaide is Participant Media’s Manager of Digital Social Action. Before she was changing the world on TakePart.com, she helped nonprofits navigate social media and email fundraising in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

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