Ralph Loglisci of the Center for a Livable Future reports at Grist and the CLF blog.
The editors of Scientific American recently encouraged U.S. hog farmers to "follow Denmark and stop giving farm animals low-dose antibiotics." Sixteen years ago, in order to reduce the threat of increased development of antibiotic resistant bacteria in their food system and the environment, Denmark phased in an antibiotic growth promotant ban in food animal production. Guess what? According to Denmark's Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries the ban is working and the industry has continued to thrive. The government agency found that Danish livestock and poultry farmers used 37 percent less antibiotics in 2009 than in 1994, leading to overall reductions of antimicrobial resistance countrywide.Notice that the Danish ban is not a radical propopsal. It still allows a large amount of antibiotic use, as needed, and this therapeutic use has grown proportionately as the Danish industry has thrived and grown since the ban. What the ban accomplished was getting rid of the worst excesses in previous years. It is a sign of dysfunction in the American political system that similar proposals have been blocked here.
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