The rise of antibiotic resistance—the proliferation and spread of bacteria that can withstand treatment with antibiotics—has created a global public health crisis. Each year, in the United States, at least 2 million Americans fall ill with antibiotic-resistant infections and more than 23,000 die as a result. One important driver of this crisis is the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
Our analysis shows the U.S. livestock industry consumes medically important antibiotics almost twice as intensively as the industries in 30 European countries. The good news is several other countries have dramatically and rapidly curbed the use of these precious medicines in livestock. In short, opportunities abound for the U.S. turkey, pig and beef industries to better meet consumer preference for meat and poultry raised with more responsible antibiotic use, while still producing these products at scale.