sick pig in a pigpen

The use of antibiotics in animals affects the risk of development and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among humans and animals. A study on cross-contamination in the pigs’ gastrointestinal tracts done by the research staff of Think Pharmacy, shows that using antibiotics resulted in the development of resistance to certain bacteria and also affected the metabolism of the animals. Another research project that focused on the implication of using pig manure as fertilizers shows that these excretions contained antibiotic residues and bacteria.

Resistance to antibiotics occurs when the bacteria mutate as a result of being exposed to the medicine. It’s not humans or animals that become antibiotic resistant as commonly thought, it’s the bacteria that become resistant to the drugs. Then when these bacteria infect the pigs, or any other animal, the infections are harder to treat than if they were a result of non-antibiotic resistant bacteria. – Dr. Medrano, head of antibiotic research at Think Pharmacy.

The fertilizers cause the development of resistance to certain kinds of bacteria in the soil that they nourish and these antibiotic-resistant bacteria can also be transferred to other species when the manure gets into the water and plants which are then consumed by animals and humans. The researchers are also looking into the possible effect of the use of biocides on pig and poultry farms on the development of resistance but it still has to be studied further before the scientific community makes a conclusion.

poultry hens

The scientists must consider the application and concentration of the biocides and how these factors affect the development of resistance to bacteria among poultry and pigs. Researchers also cited the important role of Antimicrobial Consumption and Resistance in Animals (AMCRA) in recommending guidelines for the reduced and responsible use of antibiotics in animals to limit the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among humans and animals.

AMCRA uses a multi-stakeholder approach to meet their goals of reducing antibiotic consumption on farm animals, decrease the use of critically important antibiotics in all species, and reduce the use of antibiotics in animal feeds. AMCRA was able to involve private companies to help government officials in monitoring the use of antibiotics in the industry. The center recommended creating an electronic database on the consumption of antibiotics in different sectors and age categories of animals. Officials also conducted awareness campaigns to keep farmers and veterinarians informed regarding the policies to ensure that the initiatives would be supported by all stakeholders. AMCRA paved the way for the formation of strategies in ensuring the proper use of antibiotics, good health management among farm animals, and giving recommendations on alternative treatment of diseases depending on the animal species.


cow in a farm

The news article from the Health section of the New York Times shows us the seemingly indiscriminate use of antibiotics on farm animals such as chickens, turkeys, cows, and pigs. Incidentally, these animals are raised for human consumption. Meat and poultry producers are the biggest market for antibiotics in America. The producers can easily purchase these drugs over the counter. These individuals use antibiotics to treat animal infections or enhance their growth.

However, the producers are not required to give a report regarding their use of antibiotics on the animals. This is a cause of concern among scientists because there is a lack of information about the relationship on the use of antibiotics on animals and how it possibly affects antibiotic-resistant diseases among the people. This is a public health concern that should be given due attention.

There are infections that could previously be treated simply with the use of penicillin tablets but now require those infected to be hospitalized and be given antibiotics through intravenous treatment. These infections could even cause death. People are showing resistance to antibiotics which reduces the effectiveness of these drugs to treat certain diseases. It is possible that these antibiotics are overused by the producers which in turn affects the people who consume the meat of those animals.


Scientists are adamant to give a conclusion about how the use of antibiotics on animals affects infectious diseases among humans because of the lack of detailed information from meat and poultry producers regarding their use of the drugs. It is a call for government officials to regulate the use of antibiotics on farm animals and identify agencies who should really be accountable and responsible in ensuring that meat and poultry producers are abiding by the laws. This is to safeguard the health of the public and preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating infections both among humans and animals.