Comment permalink

New FDA Rules Won’t Fix Factory Farmed Superbugs—or Suffering

Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 11:15am
Cows on a factory farm

Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed new guidelines designed to curb the rampant over- and misuse of antibiotics on factory farms: 80 percent of all antibiotics bought in the United States are purchased to give to farm animals, primarily to speed their growth and prevent illnesses that would otherwise spread like wildfire in their unsanitary, crowded conditions. Daily doses of drugs are propping up an inhumane factory farming system and contributing to growing antibiotic resistance among humans, threatening people’s lives as well.

The FDA now acknowledges that antibiotics should not be used to make animals grow faster, which is important, but the new guidelines are voluntary and the same drugs can still be used for “prevention” of illness. Factory farms wouldn’t need to prevent disease so much if the animals were kept in better conditions. But pharmaceutical and agricultural industries have an economic interest in producing as much product, as cheaply as possible, often at the expense of animal welfare, and routine doses of antibiotics are perpetuating this sick system. 

As an example, most of today’s chickens raised for meat spend their lives in giant, windowless sheds where they have less than 1 square foot of space each by the time they are full grown. Breeding for disproportionately large breasts and excessive body weight means they struggle to stand or move. Essentially immobilized in their own waste, chickens raised on factory farms could be at higher risk of carrying Salmonella and other foodborne illnesses. Antibiotics stand in for these birds’ compromised immune systems and allow the meat industry to continue to cut corners dangerously. Farm animals and consumers alike need stronger action from the FDA.

The ASPCA joined forces with a number of animal welfare organizations to issue a statement on the announcement. Learn more about factory farming and what you can do to help improve the lives of billions of farm animals by checking out our web pages and joining our advocacy brigade.  

Add new comment




Please support strenuous efforts to make life humane for the factory farm animals.

naila costa

stop eating animals people, and nobody else will get hurt.


i think we should eat them but not abuse them


Change the way the farmers think and you'll change the way the farms are. Where I live the cows are in open pasture unless the farmer has just bought new stock.


I totally agree. We should never abuse any animal.

Elke Jacobi

I think, factory farms will never be humane to animals.
For me the only solution is to be vegan.
Well planned veganism is really great. I feel better than ever.
Please people, open your hearts: Don't consume animal products. You will heal your body AND your soul.


Elke, I think you are right. Factory farms can never be humane to animals.


yes they can and will try until almost every animal in the world is non abused




They are soo ....... We need to help now!!