Beyond the Food We Eat: Animal Drugs in Livestock Production
54 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2015
Date Written: February 1, 2015
How we raise livestock in the United States has changed dramatically in the last fifty years. Greater efficiency in production has resulted in an increased supply of meat and a significantly lower cost to the consumer. That efficiency, however, has hidden costs. A wide range of drugs are used in U.S. livestock production to enhance growth, alter the characteristics of the meat produced, prevent disease in crowded living conditions, and increase feed conversion ratios. The pharmaceutical industry is primarily responsible for all testing of these drugs and most are available without prescription. Many of these drugs pass through the animal's system and can be found in animal waste, yet environmental considerations are rarely even considered. This article describes the use of drugs in livestock production, the types of drugs used, and the regulatory process for drug approval. It argues that the review process is ineffective and insufficient and that it fails to consider the critical environmental impacts.
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