Essay on Benefits and Risks of Antibiotics

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Benefits and Risks of Antibiotics


There are many issues that producers face in their practices today. One of these issues concerns the widely accepted use of antibiotics in livestock feeds. There are benefits and risks associated with this use. These issues impact not only the animal industry; the repercussions are seen on a much larger scale in the general public. This paper will give an overview of both the pros and cons of this issue.


Antibiotics have been approved for use in livestock feed for over 30 years. This includes a variety of different antibiotics that are added to the feed at sub-therapeutic levels. There are strict guidelines that limit the amount of antibiotic to no more that 200 grams
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Drug resistance in our animal populations is also a slower process. This is due to the fact that these populations have a much higher turnover rate than human populations - a beef cow just does not live more than a few years at most. Lastly, if antibiotics were not used in feed, the reliance on therapeutic levels of antibiotics would increase. This would not solve the problem of resistance, because the antibiotics are still being used, but at much higher levels.

Residues are another big issue involved in antibiotic feed use. Residues are any antibiotic or antibiotic metabolite that remains in an edible product. It is important to note that regulatory agencies do not have a zero tolerance policy on this issue. Low levels of residues are allowed in tested products. This said, it has been found that most residues are not even found in the muscle, which is the most common part of an animal found on the market. These residues can be found in tissues such as the kidney and liver, where they are cleared more slowly. Each species also has monitoring and enforcing branches that keep a close eye on the amount of residues that are found in marketed products.

Human health impact is also a major concern. It has been found that use of antibiotics in livestock feed has decreased the incidence of humans catching food-borne illnesses. This is simply due to the fact that these antibiotics wipe out any infection so that it never gets to the

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