Anna's Paper

Anna Ahrens
Antibiotic Resistance
Many antibiotics used for livestock are closely related to those used by humans. “Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute of Medicine estimate that at least as many tons of antibiotics are used in agriculture are used to treat human disease” (5). It is a known discovery that many bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. If the antibiotics are treating the same bacterium in humans as well as livestock the rate of resistance is going to increase. Growth promoters are used in livestock to improve the growth rate of the livestock. “The average growth improvement was estimated to be between four and eight percent” (4). How growth promoters work is still unexplained. However, there are four hypothesis proposed,
1) “Nutrients may be protected against bacterial destruction.
2) Absorption of nutrients may improve because of thinning of small intestinal barrier.
3) Antibiotics may decrease production of toxins by intestinal bacteria
4) Reduction of incidence of subclinical intestinal infection”. (4)
With growth promoters used in food animals has able the animals to be “reservoir of resistant bacteria and/or resistance genes that spread to human population and then limit the medical value” (2). There is an over amount of usage of growth promoters in the United States. In 1999, “18 million pounds of antimicrobial agents were used in food animals” (1). In 2001, “29 million pounds of antimicrobial agents were used in food animals” (1). If ranchers are using an excessive amount of growth promoters the resistance is only going to increase. There are numerous ways to test livestock to make sure growth promoters are being used properly. “Hair, urine, and meat” are three of the main ways (3).
A. Ranchers will not be allowed to give livestock any form of growth promoters.
B. All livestock that is going to be slaughtered will be tested for growth promoters. If growth promoters are found there will be a five thousand dollar penalty for every cow. Example: 3 cows out of a herd found with growth promoters fifteen thousand dollar fine. This fee will also help pay for the testing. To help with the testing there will be a five percent tax increase for meats and dairy products.
With the increase of antibiotic resistance there will be an increase of the need to make new antibiotics. With this policy it will slow down the rate of resistance of antibiotics therefore leading to a decrease in the need to make new antibiotics. According to Revenge of the Microbes, it takes about “Eight hundred billion dollars and about ten to fifteen years to make a new antibiotic” (5). The eight hundred billion dollars that it takes to make a new antibiotic can be put towards the testing of the growth promoters. There maybe an up rise in the increase of the taxes, but once people understand that the testing is necessary to reduce antibiotic resistance and the importance of reducing antibiotics they should come to terms with it. Farmers may also be upset with the facts that they can no longer use growth promoters. But the policy needs to be in order because it will help antibiotic resistance so much.
In conclusion, antibiotic resistance is a huge factor to the human life. We may soon run out of working antibiotics and we may not have enough time or money to make new ones. Resistance to antibiotics needs to stop and a major factor of that is to stop the use of growth promoters in livestock.

1)Aarestrup, Frank M. "Promotion on Occurrence of Antimicrobial Resistance in Fecal Enterococci from Food Animals in Denmark." 16 Apr. 2001. 6 Oct. 2008 <>.
2)Anderson, Alicia D. "Public Health Consequences of Use of Antimicrobial Agents in Food Animals in the United States." 4 Nov. 2003. 6 Oct. 2008 <>.
3)Antignac, Jean-Philippe. "Multi-residue Extraction-purification procedure for corticosteroids in biological samples for efficient control of their misuse in livestock production." 5 June 2001. 6 Oct. 2008 <>.
4)Butaye, Patrick. "Antimicrobial Growth Promoters Used in Animal Feed:Effects of Less Well Known Antibiotics on Gram-Positive Bacteria." Apr. 2003. 6 Oct. 2008 <>.
5)Salyers, Abigail A., and Dixie D. Whitt. Revenge of the Microbes : How Bacterial Resistance Is Undermining the Antibiotic Miracle. New York: ASM P, 2005.

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