Sample Paper on Overuse of Antibiotics in Livestock & human bodies

Overuse of antibiotics in livestock and the effects on the human bodies

The antibiotic resistance that is developing worldwide in disease causing bacteria is one of the primary threats to humans and livestock. It has contributed to burdens, for example, treatment failures and in the worst of cases, infections that cannot be treated or infections treated too late to save livestock (Centre for Disease control and prevention, 2012). The drug resistant strains of bacteria commonly referred to as the “superbugs” have become common in the livestock operations (Levy, 2005). The superbugs, for example, the dangerous antibiotic staphylococcus infections and vancomycin resistant bacteria are emerging due to antibiotics overuse especially in animals; the antibiotics overuse in animals is bringing more harm than good.

According to the National Institute of health, superbugs are strains of bacteria that are resistant to several types of bacteria (Greenwood, 2010). Superbugs result due to changes or mutations when they come into contact with the antibiotic, when this happens; these bacteria become resistant to the antibiotic to which they have been exposed (Centre for Disease control and prevention, 2012). The power of the bacterium to develop resistance to antibiotics is based on the capability of this organism to adapt to new threats, when the bacteria come into contact with the antibiotic a majority become susceptible to the drug and die (Van & Stobberingh, 2000).

Some bacteria have genes that guarantee survival even in the hardest of situations. The bacteria are left without any competition for basic components, for example, food, when the weak bacteria is eliminated by antibiotics, the strong resistant bacteria replicate very quickly; for example, the E.Coli bacterium has the capability of multiplying into more than a billion E.Coli cells for only twenty four hours (Centre for Disease control and prevention, 2012).

The world health organization has contended that the drug resistant bacteria are created in the farm through the antibiotic use; this causes the formation of drug resistance bacteria, severe drug resistance food poisoning, life threatening urinary infections and blood poisoning (Levy, 2005). Many public health experts have explained that the overuse and the misuse of antibiotics in the intensive animal production is a very important factor in explaining reasons why bacterium are becoming resistant.

Half of the earth antibiotic production is utilized in the farm animals (Hanson & Lederberg, 2009). Many animals are kept in crowded and stressful conditions, the conditions promote disease spread. The bacterial infections in these conditions are suppressed by the use of preventive doses of antibiotics, which are often given to herds or flocks of animals in their feed or their water (Centre for Disease control and prevention, 2012). Every overuse of antibiotics in animals encourages the development of the drug resistant bacteria; this means that, the use of antibiotics in the farms should be carefully considered (Greenwood, 2010).

The antibiotic is not able to kill the bacteria or stop it from multiplying, if the antibiotics are used in plenty the bacteria finds an opportunity to be able to develop resistance. This means that livestock forms with bacteria that is engulfed by strong protective components. The antibiotics are responsible for curing illnesses, but the major challenge with the drugs is that people and livestock overuse them. The greatest misuse of the antibiotics is in livestock, the antibiotics that are administered in chicken and other livestock causes superbugs to form (Centre for Disease control and prevention, 2012).

Over seventy percent of the antibiotics used by humans are sold for utilization in the food animals; this is done in an attempt to increase the speed by which the animals acquire weight and prevention of diseases that are caused by the unhealthy and sanitary conditions (Greenwood, 2010). The use of antibiotics, many of which are immensely identical to the medicine used by the human beings in livestock production on a massive scale speeds up the development of the drug resistant bacteria (Levy, 2005).

When the bacteria are formed in the livestock, it is transferred to human through various means, for example, food and contaminated air. Data that has been gathered by the United States department of agriculture has shown that food animals and the retail meat is often contaminated with resistant and multidrug resistant bacteria that can find its way to the food substances

The use of the antibiotics to treat and prevent the common production disease in the intensive farming has resulted in the emergence of several bacteria, for example, salmonella, campylobacter and Escherichia. The overuse of the antibiotics in the farm animals has made some of the food less safe to eat and made the resistant bacterial infections to be more common (Greenwood, 2010).  New strains of the superbug have emerged in many areas, the most common being the MRSA which has spread from the pig to pig farmers in Europe and the North American countries (Levy, 2005).

The intensive pig and poultry farming production is characterized by animals in confined and overcrowded areas; in most cases, the areas do not have outdoor access and they are managed for the purpose of maximum production (Greenwood, 2010). The animals kept in these conditions are expected to grow faster and produce more, the conditions in these places often compromise, the health and the immune responses of these animals create a situation that encourages the development and spread of the infectious diseases (Centre for Disease control and prevention, 2012).

Up to January 2006, farmers used antibiotics in the animal feeds as growth promoters; the practice increased the economic performance of the farm animals. Great concerns have been expressed in Europe concerning the growth promoters, scientists have presented great evidence showing that the use of the growth promoters in livestock was linked to the increasing antibiotic resistance to the related drugs in the human medicine (Levy, 2005). When the animals are given an antibiotic that is related to the human medicine, cross resistance occurs and the disease that causes bacteria becomes resistant to the drug that is used in the human medicine.

In conclusion, overusing antibiotics in livestock causes immense harm; this is because it results in the development of resistant bacteria. The antibiotics’ overuse in livestock takes many forms, for example, it can be administered to animals in efforts to prevent diseases or a growth promoter. The antibiotics’ overuse can result to many side effects on animals and human beings apart from developing resistant bacteria; it can result in the development of complications in both animals and human beings. Animals on which there is antibiotics overuse are more prone to severe disease attacks since their immunity is unable to fight the disease causing microorganisms.







Centre for Disease control and prevention. (2012). Preventing Emergious infectious disease: A Strategy for the 21st Century. Atlanta: U.S Department of health and human service,public health service.

Greenwood, D. (2010). Preserving the miracle of antibiotics. New York: Lancet.

Hanson, P., & Lederberg, J. (2009). Antimicrobial resistance: Issues and Options. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Levy, S. (2005). The Challenge of antibiotic Resistance. Scientific American, 46-53.

Van, B. D., & Stobberingh, E. (2000). Epidemiology of Resistance to antibiotics: Links Between animals and humans. Int J Antimicrob Agents, 35.