Stop The Overuse Of Antibiotics

A GROWING CONCERN — At least 23,000 Americans die every year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the widespread overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is making them less effective.

When big farming operations discovered that giving antibiotics to healthy animals could prevent illness while making them fatter, faster, many of them started putting antibiotics into the daily feed of all their livestock, sick or not. The result? Bacteria that come into contact with these animals develop antibiotic resistance, and the infections these bacteria cause -- everything from pneumonia to serious infections like MRSA — become harder and harder to treat.

Our Health At Risk

Millions of Americans rely on antibiotics every day to treat everything from simple ear infections, to serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses like pneumonia. But there is growing concern among public health officials, including from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that the overuse of antibiotics renders medicines like penicillin less and less effective over time.

Overuse On Factory Farms

Believe it or not, the largest users of antibiotics are not people with infections. In fact, up to 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used on animals. Factory farming operations routinely mix huge quantities of antibiotics into the feed they give to healthy livestock. The CDC recently warned that much of the use of antibiotics on factory farms is "unnecessary and inappropriate and makes everyone less safe."

Calling On The Obama Administration

Stopping the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is common sense. But big agribusinesses and the pharmaceutical industry are pushing back against any change. So U.S. PIRG is building a citizens movement all across the country, to unite the tens of thousands voices that it will take to convince the Obama administration to act. 

How You Can Help

We’re building a movement of concerned citizens across the country, and we need everyone to add their voice to call on the Obama administration to protect our antibiotics and stop the misuse and overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. 

We’re also calling on medical professionals to join our coalition and help us move the president to take action. Are you a medical professional? Sign on to our appeal to President Obama.

Are you a doctor or nurse who has seen the effects of antibiotic resistance first-hand? Tell your story to help us show the reality of this epidemic to lawmakers.

Want to become a coalition partner in our campaign to protect our antibiotics? Sign your organization up here.

Issue updates

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Big Money Playing an Outsized Role in Primary Elections

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

Today’s announcement of steps to improve credit and debit card security:

U.S. PIRG commends the President for using the government’s buying power to accelerate improvements in credit and debit security that are critically needed by American consumers and businesses.

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Weak Medicine

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Priority Action

The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is threatening the effectiveness of lifesaving antibiotics. Call on the Obama administration to put an end to the worst practices.

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