Is Antibiotic Use on Factory Farms Making Us Sick?

Three years ago, the Pew Charitable Trust started a campaign to see what the effects of animal farming were on human and animal health and the environment.

The results called for curbing the use of antibiotics on farms in order to keep them more effective for human use, in addition to encouraging farms to improve sanitation.

What’s the problem with antibiotic use anyway?

The problem is that animals receiving low doses of antibiotics on a regular basis are like walking petri dishes for bacterial growth that can result in antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.

These types of bacteria can then be spread through animals, eating and handling meat and dairy products, along with other fruits, vegetables and water that have been exposed to manure that’s used as fertilizer and finds its way into the water supply.

“Human antibiotics are routinely misused on factory farms to promote faster animal growth and compensate for crowded, stressful and unsanitary conditions,” said Robert Martin, a senior officer with the Pew Environment Group.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 50 million pounds of antibiotics have been used on farms in the past two years, which is about 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S.

U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter just introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) on Tuesday.

This bill would result in phasing out the use of antibiotics on livestock, unless it’s being used to treat sick animals, along with providing funding for institutions who want to work with producers on this cause.

“Medical experts agree that this practice directly contributes to a dramatic rise in antibiotic-resistant infections in people. We must reduce the use of antibiotics today to help preserve their effectiveness tomorrow,” said Martin.

According to a study done by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, there were 18,000 deaths in 2005 alone that were caused by antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureusis infections, which was higher than the number of HIV/AIDS related deaths.

For more info check out Pew Charitable Trust’s Human Health and Industrial Farming website.

Please contact your representative and ask them to support PAMTA. 


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Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

federico bortoletto

Non so più cosa pensare. Ormai mi fa schifo tutto.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers5 years ago

I thought that being a vegetarian would protect me, now I know that all dairy products are at risk too! HELP!!

Lianne Lavoie
Lianne Lavoie7 years ago

"U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter just introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) on Tuesday."

Is her last name seriously Slaughter? lol

Delight S.
Delight S7 years ago

If the farmers raised meat responsibly-without the use of medications, and letting the animals graze and feed as they would in nature- they would not be able to meet the demand from the public for meat, so by eating the meat that is laden with antibiotics and hormones and steroids, the meat eaters are perpetuating this travesty, and putting all of our lives in grave danger. Super viruses are real people, and they are scary!! And they are the direct result of over use of antibiotics!!! Please, if you can't stop eating meat just to save the life of an animal, stop eating meat so we will not all die of the super ebola virus, or something worse!!! To further help, you should stop using antibacterial wipes, soaps, and cleaners!!! If left to their own devices, our bodies can protect us from many things...but when you make the bacteria stronger, our bodies can't fight all of them. Please, STOP USING ANTIBIOTICS/ANTIBACTERIALS!!!!!!

Kristen B.
Kristen B.7 years ago

Say No to Factory Farms. Say yes to less meat, less cruelty, better health.

Elinor Israel
Elinor Israel7 years ago

There is not doubt in my mind eating meat is very unhealthy and accounts for the emergence of the super bugs that antibiotics cannot cure. Lets no forget Mad Cow disease either. When a cow is hit with a bolt to the head it drives the brain matter down into the tissues. If the cow is infected the humans who consume its flesh will contract encephalitis. This is just another reason why factory farms should be abolished. If some people can't give up meat in spite of the fact that innocent animals suffer and die so they can dine on their corpses, one would think that the fact that they are jeopardizing their own health would be reason enough. I am a vegan and take Calcium with Vitamin D and B12 everyday. My cholesterol used to be sky high and now it is within the normal range. I feel much healthier than 7 years ago when I ate animals.

Juanita C.
Juanita C7 years ago

Farm animals are routinely fed antibiotics to prevent illness & infection. This is such an oxymoron! When you kill the good bacteria in the gut you set up an environment for other bacteria to take over, not just in the gut, but systemically, throughout the entire body.
Furthermore, feedlots that house cows for instance, feed them grain, which they cannot tolerate or digest. They become colicky and ill from it. This feeding practice is contrary to what they naturally eat, which is grass when they graze. However, they are prevented from grazing, fed grain, which makes them sick, and housed in an inhumane manner. All these practices cause illness, physical and emotional for these creatures.
Imagine if humans were treated like that, wouldn't we be ill? So, the solution is antibiotics as a preventative measure?
It sounds like our sick health care system. Give drugs, don't do anything to change the situation or prevent the illness by natural means. I'm just sick to death of this way of thinking.
Anyone that believes these antibiotics and hormones do not come to us second hand is in a dream world.
When a human mother is pregnant or nursing her child she must be aware of everything that she eats, drinks, breathes, applies to her body and so on. Everything that comes into her body, regardless of the route, affects the baby. When we drink the milk and eat the flesh of animals that have been injected with antibiotics, we get it second hand.
Yes, I support PAMTA, whole hear

Nan B.
Nan B7 years ago

Hormones, steroids, antibiotics, you name it there injected, It is so unfortunate, It would be one thing if they were sick like when we take our critters to the vet to get there meds, or there clean bill of health check. But to get injections on critters so to speak for our benefit TO EAT… I think I will have to pass... I try always to eat organic the best I can, and just because you buy at a health food store, unless it says organic, well then the other stuff you are buying there has pesticides on them. What a messed up deal... You should check out some of the sites on MONSANTO, bad deal there. Look on
And really check out (Monsanto our pesticide freak company of the world. There stuff is going in all of our foods- wheat, rice, and veggies and I could go on, NOT TO MENTION THEY ARE NOW NATION WIDE! Thanks to Bush senior when he was in office he Ok’d it right there in the factory. Just check it out please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mary Strobridge
Past Member 7 years ago

i thimk so and i am a vegetarian