Home on the Range
Federal drug regulators announced Wednesday that farmers and ranchers must restrict their use of a critical class of antibiotics in cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys because such practices may have contributed to the growing threat of bacterial infections in people that are resistant to treatment.
The medicines belong to a class of antibiotics known as cephalosporins and include such brands as Cefzil and Keflex. They are among the most common antibiotics prescribed to treat strep throat, bronchitis, skin infections and urinary tract infections. Surgeons also often use them before surgery to prevent bacterial infections.
The drugs’ use in agriculture has, according to many microbiologists, led to the development of bacteria that are resistant to the drugs’ effects, a development that many doctors say has endangered the lives of patients.
Antibiotics are often added to animal feed and are used routinely to encourage rapid growth of livestock, but officials at the Food and Drug Administration have been increasingly vocal in their concerns that overuse of antibiotics in agriculture is endangering human health. The agency proposed rules in 2010 to slow the use of penicillin, tetracycline and other antibiotics simply to promote growth or prevent disease in feed animals, but those rules have yet to be made final…
Perish the thought we offend a drug company or the owners of cattle feed lots.