Animal Agriculture Uses Most Antibiotics Worldwide, Says New Report

Antibiotic overuse can foster the growth of 'superbugs'
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A large piece of smoked meat

The report says twice as many antibiotics are used on animals as humans

A new report has identified the animal agriculture industry as the largest consumer of antibiotics worldwide.

According to the report from Rural Investment Support For Europe, research has shown that a large portion of said antibiotics are used on healthy animals, to increase their size and better facilitate intensive farming.

Antibiotic overuse has been connected to antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which allows for the development of 'superbugs' - harmful microorganisms that cause illnesses resistant to treatment with antibiotics.

10 million deaths

According to the report, AMR is currently responsible for the death of 700,000 people annually - a threat not forecasted to dissipate.

It says: "AMR has been defined as one of the most important global economic and societal challenges facing mankind and is projected to be the cause of death of 10 million people annually by 2050 globally."

Meat and a meat tenderiser

AMR is forecasted to be the cause of 10 million human deaths by 2050

Ineffective ban

While the EU banned the use of antibiotics on healthy animals for growth promotion in 2006, the report indicates little has changed since.

It says that many farmers have instead claimed 'therapeutic use' of antibiotics.

Prevalence

Superbugs continue to run rampant - in Europe and beyond.

In the UK, the Food Standards Authority (FSA) identified record levels of superbug contamination in supermarket chicken, while in the US, a recent report on supermarket meats showed a superbug contamination rate of 62 percent.