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From the News Archives...

Growth-promoting antibiotics—bad for consumers and farmers

According to a recent study by the USDA's Economic Research Service, hog farmers lose money if they feed growth-promoting antibiotics to their pigs. Although the drugs increase the body weight of the pigs by 10 percent, the added supply of pork ultimately cuts the price of hogs. In the words of the study, "Each producer is able to improve his or her net return by feeding anti-microbial drugs. However, when all producers act in concert, feeding anti-microbial drugs, the collective result is to increase hog supplies; the increased supplies decrease hog prices." In 1999, the price of hogs fell from $34.80 to $34.02 per hundred pounds.

So who profits from the drugs? The drug manufacturers, of course. According to the Animal Health Institute, 20.5 million pounds of antibiotics were given to animals in 1999.

The European Union has banned farmers from giving antibiotics to healthy animals. The same is true for farmers in the Eat Wild Directory of Farmers.


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