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Curbing antibiotics on farms taking too long: Our view (USA Today Editorial)

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Want to ensure that miracle drugs can no longer perform miracles?

Then do what some physicians and industrial livestock farmers have done for years: Overprescribe antibiotics to people, and use them cavalierly in farm animals to promote growth or prevent infections before they even occur.

Routine use of antibiotics makes some bacteria stronger and resistant to treatment. When those hardier bugs infect a person, antibiotics might no longer work. Last month, federal officials quantified that danger: At least 23,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which said that's a conservative figure. That's why smart doctors resist prescribing antibiotics for every minor ailment.

Chickens, pigs, cattle and other "food animals" don't necessarily need a prescription. They have long been fed antibiotics to plump them up and prevent diseases that spread easily in crowded factory farms.
 
 

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