Benefits of Antibiotics

Properly used antibiotics keep animals healthy and food safe

Antibiotics approved by the FDA are used to fight diseases in animals, which supports animal welfare and food safety for consumers.

Benefit to Animal Welfare

Ensuring animal welfare is a human responsibility; it includes proper housing, management, nutrition, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care and humane handling. Medicines, including antibiotics, are an important tool for veterinarians tasked with protecting animal health and preventing suffering from disease, which can lead to poor animal welfare.

Benefit to Food Safety

The benefits of using antibiotics to treat and prevent animal disease extend far beyond the farm. In fact, research has shown that as rates of animal illnesses increase, so do rates of human illness (Russell 2003, Hurd et al PHR 2008). 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. Use of antibiotics to prevent and control these low level infections is important in helping to reduce this type of contamination.

Animal Health Institue

Keeping Animals Healthy

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