Letter to the Editor | Stop overuse of antibiotics on farms


By Michelle Kras

There are many issues with meat production that influence people to become vegans or vegetarians, but one we don’t talk about often enough is the misuse of antibiotics that takes place on factory farms.

Though normally seen as a modern-day blessing, the handling of antibiotics is a serious issue when it comes to our health, and it starts with the meat we produce.

While we need to develop new drugs to keep up with the relentless evolution of bacteria into antibiotic-resistant superbugs, the foundational problem is the widespread overuse of the antibiotics currently available. According to an estimate from researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, as many as 162,000 people die from multi-drug resistant infections annually in the U.S.

Approximately two-thirds of medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S. are for use in livestock and poultry. A major misuse of antibiotics happens on factory farms, which often give these medicines to animals that aren’t even sick. Not only does this overuse affect them, it affects our own health when the superbugs that start on these farms spread into our communities.

Currently, the Illinois Public Interest Research Group is working on the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act, which is a bill created to stop the routine use of antibiotics on factory farms. What we need to do as educated students with the ability to make a change is support them in any way we can.

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    Let’s make this issue something we talk about until we no longer have to.

    Michelle is a junior in LAS.