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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been framed as one of the biggest threats to humanity in the 21st century. By 2050, more humans could die because of AMR than cancer. But despite alarming concerns from the early 1960s and warnings that the issue of antimicrobial resistance could cross barriers between animal species, the problems of antimicrobial use in animal farming have for long been ignored by policy makers and the food industry.
Yet when the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared in 2001 that antimicrobial resistance was a "global problem" for both humans and animals, the link between animal farming and human health could no longer be ignored.
Investments - Actions - World - Use - Antimicrobials
Since then, significant public investments and political actions have been taken around the world to limit the use of antimicrobials in animal farming and raise awareness of the risks and problems related to the medicalisation of animal production.
Unsurprisingly, though, drugs are still massively consumed in animal farming and food production systems worldwide.
Drugs - Modernisation - Agriculture - Production - Food
Drugs have been instrumental to the modernisation of agriculture and are fundamental to the production of abundant and cheap food. In animal farming, drugs not only improve the health and growth of farmed animals, but are also part of the strategies employed by the food industry in order to produce more food for more people.
Public debates on the use of antimicrobials in animal farming have emerged at a time when vast epidemics of untreatable drug-resistant infections have emerged in humans because of antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotics that were once used to save lives against sepsis and were first introduced to help Allied soldiers fight the Nazis, soon became our worst enemies. In fact, the cost of new epidemics of drug-resistant infections has cast doubt on the benefit of using antimicrobials in animal farming in the global north, where countries spend vast amounts treating drug-resistant infections...
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