FDA to Require Prescriptions for Livestock Antibiotics
Strategy aims to battle antibiotic-fueled super bugs
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2012 11:25 PM CDT
Updated Apr 12, 2012 5:48 AM CDT
A Pennsylvania farmer walks among turkeys being raised without the use of antibiotics.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Newser) – The Food and Drug Administration is trying to slow the rise of drug-resistant super bugs by reducing antibiotic use in livestock. The agency will now require farmers and ranchers to obtain a prescription from a veterinarian before they can give antibiotics to animals, reports the New York Times. Close to 80% of antibiotics sold in the US go to animals, and the FDA wants farmers to stop using them simply to make animals grow larger. It has asked companies to start phasing out their non-medical use.

"Hospital-acquired infections, mainly from drug-resistant strains of bacteria, cause some 2 million illnesses and 90,000 deaths in the US each year," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement. "The new strategy will ensure farmers and veterinarians can care for animals while ensuring the medicines people need remain safe and effective." Asking farmers to voluntarily phase out the non-medical use of antibiotics will be faster than a ban, which would require a separate court hearing for each of hundreds of drugs, according to the agency.

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Showing 3 of 13 comments
Apr 12, 2012 1:56 PM CDT
How about a presciption for each animal and proof that they need it. I don't buy meat that isn't antibiotic or hormone free.
Apr 12, 2012 12:26 PM CDT
It makes no sense to me that farmers can dump antibiotics in animal feed at will, while humans have to get a prescription for even the most conservative uses. Maybe one practice is wrong, maybe the other, but I don't see how you can justify both at the same time.
Apr 12, 2012 10:36 AM CDT
Oh, great - the lines aren't long enough at Walgreen's and now I gotta stand behind some cow getting a prescription filled?? /To be fair, I live in Chicago - I stand in line behind "cows" almost ever day