U.S. LIVESTOCK INDUSTRIES PERSIST
IN HIGH-INTENSITY ANTIBIOTIC USE
Antibiotic resistance is a global crisis, having risen to dangerous levels in all parts of the
world. In the United States alone, more than 2.8 million people fall ill with antibiotic-resistant
infections annually. At least 35,000 of them die, and likely many more.
The United States and Europe have taken divergent policy approaches to address the spread of dangerous antibioticresistant bacteria, particularly in tracking and reducing antibiotic use in livestock production. Over the course of a decade, Europe’s explicit approach was aimed at improving animal health and preventing illness through changes to on-farm conditions and practices, thereby avoiding the need for antibiotics. That approach coincides with nearly all of Europe’s largest livestock producers reducing their intensity of antibiotic use by 50 to 60 percent between 2011 and 2020. European public health agencies, like the EMA, played a crucial role in this reduction by building systems that collect and report data on veterinary antibiotic sales and usage. Those data are essential for tracking rates of antibiotic use and progress toward better antibiotic stewardship.
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