For decades, the U.S. meat industry has fed medically important antibiotics to chickens, pigs, and cattle to accelerate their weight gain and prevent disease in the stressful and unhygienic conditions that typify industrialized animal agriculture production facilities. A strong scientific consensus exists, asserting that this practice fosters antibiotic resistance in bacteria to the detriment of human health. In response to this public health threat, the European Union has banned the non-therapeutic feeding of a number of antibiotics of human importance to farm animals. Given these serious concerns as well as recent data that suggest an overall lack of financial benefit, the U.S. meat industry should discontinue this risky practice.
The Humane Society of the United States, "An HSUS Report: Human Health Implications of Non-Therapeutic Antibiotic Use in Animal Agriculture" (2008). Impact of Animal Agriculture. 11.