The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) fired back last week at a media event sponsored by the PEW Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming in Washington, DC.

The event attempted to show that there is abuse of antibiotics in livestock and it is causing more antibiotic resistance.

NPPC ran an advertisement in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, laying out the real facts about antibiotic use in livestock production, including points from Scott Hurd, DVM, associate professor at Iowa State University.

Five points were highlighted:

  • Antibiotics help animals grow healthier, improve animal well-being and help provide safe food.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates antibiotic use in humans and animals. The FDA inspects the feedmills that produce medicated feed. The agency also evaluates the safety of antibiotics used in animals for human safety.
  • Strategic use of antibiotics in animal agriculture prevents disease and produces safer food. A side benefit of this use is faster growth.
  • Less than 1% of food-borne illnesses require antibiotic therapy. The human health crisis with resistance is focused on pathogens that are often acquired in hospitals.
  • Antibiotics have been used in humans for more than 60 years and in livestock for more than 50 years, so if there was going to be an epidemic of resistance related to antibiotic use in agriculture, it would have occurred by now. The fact that it has not occurred means antibiotic use in animals is not a major risk to human health.