Protecting animal health and human health
When an animal is sick with a bacterial infection, treating it with antibiotics is the ethical thing to do.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) testified before Congress that antibiotics are one of the most important tools that veterinarians use to protect both human health and animal health.
Veterinarians take an oath to protect animal health, prevent and relieve animal suffering and promote public health, similar to the oath taken by medical doctors to protect human health. Both work to ensure antibiotics are used responsibly to reduce the risk of resistance.
Antibiotics help prevent animal suffering
Animal suffering could be an unintended consequence if antibiotics used in human medicine are completely disallowed in animals.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), an animal welfare group, agrees there would be serious consequences if animal antibiotics with crossover to human antibiotics are pulled from veterinarians’ toolkits. An ASPCA official noted, “If animal welfare is not addressed in conjunction with pulling back the drugs, this could actually be a very dangerous move for birds and ultimately for consumers.”
New solutions to protect animal health
Animal health companies and groups are researching and developing new ways to protect and improve animal health that will help reduce the need for animal antibiotics in the future.
For example, nutritional supplements under development have been shown to improve immune response in poultry with a goal of keeping animals healthy, which could lead to a decrease in the need for antibiotics.
Animal health researchers are working to develop innovative new vaccines to reduce the risk of infection. Successful disease prevention will help to reduce the need for antibiotics.
Animal health companies envision a future where multiple tools are used to keep animals healthy. We strive to find new solutions, while recognizing that there remains circumstances in which responsible use of antibiotics, as ordered by a veterinarian, is the right thing to do.