More Meat, More Dairy, More Egg–More Antibiotics

More Meat, More Dairy, More Egg–More Antibiotics

Antibiotics are commonly used in animal feed

By 2050, global meat and dairy consumption are projected to double and quadruple, with most growth seen in the emerging markets of developing nations. This unprecedented rise in animal agriculture will also bring an unprecedented rise in the use of animal pharmaceuticals. Brighter Green recently reported on the dangers of antibiotic resistant bacteria resulting from agricultural practices. Yet, pharmaceutical industries are eagerly anticipating a spike of farmed animal antibiotics in the near future.

A global leader in animal pharmaceuticals, Zoetis, formerly Pfizer Animal Health, recently spoke of this growing demand. With limited arable land and water, future animal agriculture will rely on large-scale, intensive, factory farming operations. Factory farmed animals, living in unhealthy conditions, are fed antibiotics to increase their “productivity” and prevent disease outbreak, this being one factor driving Zoetis’s growth. However, these are the exact sub-therapeutic agricultural practices that the World Health Organization states is a leading factor responsible for the development of antibiotic resistance bacteria.

Public outcries within the United States and across Europe are pushing for increased regulations of farmed animal antibiotic use. But regulations within the “emerging market” nations are severely lacking. This is particularly alarming given the developing world’s current antibiotic resistance problem.

Photo courtesy of Kerben.