In the 1940s, a small group of scientists, Moore et al., discovered that adding antibiotics to animal feed would improve the animals’ rates of growth. Since, ranchers and farmers have been routinely administering antibiotics sub-therapeutically – or in doses too small to treat illness – to their livestock. According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, in 2011, the quantity of antibiotics sold for meat and poultry production in the U.S. was nearly four times greater than the quantity sold to treat sick Americans.
While widespread public alarm on this practice has only recently sounded, evidence has long suggested the human health risks associated with the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in food animals. In 1976, Dr. Stuart Levy and a team of researchers released astudy that documented the impact of antibiotic use on farm chickens and farm workers. Though disputed at the time, significant research has since supported these findings.Several researchers today have linked the excessive use of antibiotics in livestock with the development of drug resistance in humans.
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