Antibiotics and Other Antimicrobials

The ASPCA believes sick animals must receive timely and effective treatment for illness and infection. However, antibiotics and other antimicrobials are mostly used in the farming system to compensate for both environmental and physical stressors, including unsanitary, overcrowded conditions, and the use of fast-growing, immune-compromised animals. The ASPCA opposes the use of antimicrobials for any purpose other than veterinarian-overseen treatment and non-routine disease control. Routine use of subtherapeutic or nontherapeutic antibiotics falls beyond this scope, whether or not the drugs used are medically important for humans. Practices should be used that minimize or preclude the need for routine antibiotic use, such as decreasing stress as well as raising animals with robust immune systems, using appropriate stocking densities and keeping facilities clean and well ventilated. These are practices the ASPCA believes all farms should implement, but they become all the more necessary when antimicrobials are withheld from animals. Addressing the overuse of antibiotics helps achieve better housing conditions and healthier genetics, ensuring Freedom from Discomfort; Freedom from Pain, Injury and Disease; and Freedom to Express Normal Behavior.