The budget President Obama sent to Congress asks for more than $1 billion to fight antibiotic resistance, with some of the focus on animal agriculture. Under the proposal, the U.S.D.A. would get $77 million dollars to find ways to reduce use of the drugs in livestock.
Hans Coetzee, a veterinary medicine professor at Iowa State University, says antibiotic resistance can make common medications ineffective, meaning, sick people or sick animals don’t get better. Coetzee says, “We recognize that when both MDs and veterinarians are using the same class of drugs to treat disease, that we both have responsibilities to ensure that we’re using those drugs prudently and responsibly.” He says it’s important to develop new animal care strategies to stop the spread of antibiotic resistance.
“It would be prudent for us in production agriculture to find ways to minimize the amount of antibiotics used, to most effectively use the drugs that we have, and then to identify alternatives,” Coetzee says.
The president’s proposal nearly quadruples the U.S.D.A. money designated for such research.