Monday, March 23, 2015

World's pig farmers use nearly four times as many antibiotics as cattle ranchers, study says

"Pig farmers around the world, on average, use nearly four times as much antibiotics as cattle ranchers do, per pound of meat," says a study published last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Michaeleen Doucleff reports for NPR. "Poultry farmers fall somewhere between the two."

Researchers found that in 2010, the world used 63,000 tons of antibiotics for cows, chickens and pigs, which is twice as many antibiotics as those prescribed by doctors to fight infections, Doucleff writes. China is the biggest culprit of using antibiotics on pigs, but the U.S. is close behind in second, using about 10 percent of the world's total of antibiotics. Brazil, India and Germany round out the top five.

Drug use is expected to continue to rise, Anderson writes. The study's author, Ramanan Laxminarayan, who directs the Center for Disease Dynamics Economics & Policy in Washington, D.C., told Doucleff, "We project in the next 20 years world consumption of antibiotics in animals will go up by two-thirds. The implications for the effectiveness of our antibiotics could be quite devastating." (Read more)

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