WHO Warning: Stop Using Antibiotics in Healthy Animals
The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a statement recommending farmers and the food industry discontinue the practice of routinely using antibiotics to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals. The recommendation is intended to help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance and preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics by reducing their unnecessary use in animals.
In some areas of the world, approximately 80 percent of antibiotic use is in animals – mostly for growth promotion – according to the WHO. Several types of bacteria that cause serious infections in humans have already developed resistance to most or all available treatment options, and there are very few promising alternatives in development.
According to research published in The Lancet Planetary Health, restrictions on antibiotic use in food-producing animals reduces levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in these animals by up to 39 percent. Many countries have already taken steps to decrease the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals. Alternatives include better hygiene, vaccination, and improved animal housing and husbandry practices.