‘Fabricating It’: Opponents Wrong On Antibiotics Use
Manhattan--A study conducted by Kansas State University shows that opponents of antibiotics use in livestock production wildly overestimate the amount given to food animals.
Using data from a 2006 Department of Agriculture swine survey and a 2009 survey of swine veterinarians, K-State found that annually about 1.6 million pounds of antibiotics are used in pork production for growth promotion/nutritional efficiency and disease prevention. A 2001 report, “Hogging It,” from the Union of Concerned Scientists, claimed that 10.3 million pounds a year are used.
“The UCS report should have been titled ‘Fabricating It,’” said National Pork Producers Council President R.C. Hunt.“Pork producers do not overuse antibiotics. We work with veterinarians to carefully consider if antibiotics are necessary and which ones to use.”
The KSU study, which was published in the March issue of “Foodborne Pathogens and Disease,” found that 2.8 million pounds of antibiotics were used for growth promotion/nutritional efficiency, disease prevention and disease treatment. That amount is 368 percent less than the amount asserted by UCS for just growth promotion/nutritional efficiency and disease prevention.
The study also belies the claim made by opponents of modern livestock production and some members of Congress—and repeated by much of the media—that 80 percent of all antibiotics sold are used to promote growth in livestock.