Livestock producers are routinely giving antibiotics to animals to help them survive overcrowded, stressful and unsanitary conditions. Overusing these drugs—in humans or animals—breeds bacteria resistant to the antibiotics, threatening the future effectiveness of these medicines, and putting our health at risk. Every year, millions of people get sick, and one estimate says 160,000 die from antibiotic-resistant infections in the United States.
Given the stakes, we shouldn’t allow even one large-scale farming operation to overuse antibiotics in this way. And yet nearly two thirds of medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S. are intended for use in meat production.