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May 18, 2011

HSI Seeks Ban on Unnecessary Use of Antibiotics In Farm Animals

Humane Society International/India

NEW DELHI—Citing both animal welfare and human health concerns, Humane Society International urged the government to impose a ban on the non-therapeutic, or unnecessary use of antibiotics in farm animals.

The National Policy for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance, which was released last month, expressed similar concerns about the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in farm animals, particularly poultry, and called for an intersectoral coordination committee to develop regulations for the use of antimicrobials in animals, and to create labeling requirements for meat we eat with antibiotics. An intersectoral committee involves members coming from a wide variety of disciplines and government agencies. Currently there are no regulatory provisions in the country regarding the use of antibiotics in farm animals.

“We hope that the Ministry of Health recognises the importance of these recommendations and imposes a ban on the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in farm animals,” said N.G. Jayasimha, manager of HSI’s factory farming campaign in India. “It is imperative that this committee take action to address the routine and dangerous use of antibiotics on India’s factory farms.”

Facts

  • Indiscriminate antibiotics use may select for drug-resistant pathogens that can affect both human and non-human animals. As the bacteria become more resistant to the antibiotics fed to chickens and other animals raised for meat, they may become more resistant to the antibiotics needed to treat sick people.
  • Antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be found in the air, groundwater, and soil around farms and on retail meat, and people can be exposed to these pathogens through infected meat, vegetables fertilized with raw manure, and water supplies contaminated by farm animal waste.
  • The world's leading medical, agricultural, and veterinary authorities have reached consensus that antibiotic overuse in animal agriculture is contributing to human public health problems.

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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the Web at hsi.org

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