Most scientists agree that the practice of feeding antibiotics to livestock leads to antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are dangerous to human health.
Antibiotics are drugs such as penicillin, amoxicillin and tetracycline that are used to kill or inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. However, when antibiotics are used too frequently, the harmful bacteria become resistant to the drug and the treatment becomes less effective. In fact, bacteria can develop into a completely different strain that cannot be killed by the normally prescribed antibiotic.
Low doses of antibiotics make chickens and turkeys grow faster and gain more weight.
The practice of mixing antibiotics in animal feed has become quite common, with scientists estimating that over 70 percent of all antibiotics consumed in the United States are used for livestock production.
The overuse of non-therapeutic antibiotics in beef cattle, swine and poultry production poses a serious threat to human health.
Half of these antibiotics belong to classes of drugs used in human medicine, causing harmful bacteria to become resistant to them and treatment becomes less effective. This is especially threatening for people with compromised immune systems including infants, elderly people and patients with cancer receiving chemotherapy.