For decades, antibiotics have been widely used, saving lives and reducing suffering. Such drugs are routinely employed among both human and farm animal populations. However, scientific data now links the use of antibiotics at subtherapeutic levels in livestock feed to the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the human population. After examining the current research, this Article concludes that despite short-term economic benefits associated with the widespread use of antibiotics in agriculture, the risk to human health justifies a change in policy. This Article recommends a number of steps to minimize the spread of antibiotic resistance. The primary changes would be to phase out the use of antibiotics as livestock feed additives, and to refuse to approve new drugs for this purpose. In either instance, this use would be permissible if the drug sponsor provides convincing evidence that the agricultural use of its particular antibiotic presents no appreciable risk to human health.
Robyn L. Goforth & Carol R. Goforth,
Appropriate Regulation of Antibiotics in Livestock Feed,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.