Ban Antibiotic Growth Promoters (AGPs) in Food Animal Production in the U.S.
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I believe there should be a ban on AGPs in Food Animal Production because of an increase in cases with drug-resistant bacteria in humans. For example, on January 13th 2017, only a few weeks ago, a Nevada woman died from a drug-resistant bacteria, dubbed a “superbug”. In this particular case, the bacteria was resistant to all 26 antibiotics available in the United States.
If we keep our current AGPs in Food Animal Production policies, it is likely we will see an increased number of drug-resistant bacterial infections. If food animals are given continual doses of antibiotics there will be a natural selection for bacteria resistant to the antibiotics, causing the bacteria to produce drug resistant offspring. Over time the entire colony of bacteria will be resistant to the antibiotics. Some species of bacteria in livestock can be transmitted to humans. Without a ban on AGPs in Food Animal Production, these bacteria will infect humans who will not be able to fight off the infection with antibiotics causing anybody who contracts the drug-resistant bacteria to die.
In 1986 Sweden was the first country to regulate AGPs, soon followed the United Kingdom and Denmark. According to a journal article written by Carol Cogliani, Herman Goossens and Christina Greko, the early 1990’s saw the rise of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) in Europe. It was discovered that VRE was found in meat and also in manure on farms where avoparcin (an antibiotic) was used as a growth promoter. This led to a ban of avoparcin for growth promoting in 1997. Over the next decade more antibiotics would be phased out and in 2006 there was a total ban of AGPs in Europe (Cogliani et. al 274-275).
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