Stop Dangerous Overuse of Antibiotics in Livestock

Target: Tom Hayes, CEO of Tyson Foods

Goal: Stop contributing to antibiotic resistance by overusing human antibiotics in cattle.

Antibiotics are being used in dangerous amounts on U.S. livestock. Antibiotics are one of the best weapons in the fight against infectious disease – penicillin alone is estimated to have saved over 100 million lives. But factory farms like Tyson and others are actively contributing to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Seventy percent of the medically important antibiotics used in the United States are given to livestock. This reckless use of antibiotics has significant consequences for human health and must be stopped.

Antibiotic resistance is a major public health problem worldwide. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria kill over 20,000 people per year in the United States alone. Although over-prescription of antibiotics by doctors also contributes to the problem, use of antibiotics in livestock is a massive concern. In general, antibiotics administered to livestock aren’t being used to treat sick animals. Animals constantly fed low doses of antibiotics simply grow more quickly, meaning they can be slaughtered sooner, which reduces the cost of raising the animal.

Importantly, there is direct evidence that these practices are leading to antibiotic resistance and that these antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria are a threat to humans. In one experiment, researchers fed low doses of the antibiotic tetracycline to a flock of chickens. After just one week, nearly all of the E. coli bacteria in the chickens were resistant to tetracycline. Even more concerning, these specific strains of E. coli also showed up in the farmers and their families. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can also harm consumers: antibiotic-resistant Salmonella strains present in meats have sickened hundreds of Americans.

Tyson has already committed to raising chickens without antibiotics, but it must expand this policy to other livestock as well. Tyson is the nation’s largest beef producer, processing up to 175,000 cattle per week. Sign this petition to urge Tyson to end indiscriminate use of antibiotics in cattle.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Hayes,

I am writing to applaud your commitment to raising antibiotic-free chickens and to urge you to expand this practice to your company’s cattle as well. Antibiotic resistance is a major public health problem and will only continue to worsen. If we do nothing to combat this problem, scientists estimate that by 2050, antibiotic-resistant bacteria will kill 300 million people and cost trillions of dollars globally.

Antibiotic resistance is particularly dangerous to your employees. Studies have shown that over 20% of people that work with livestock may carry a deadly strain of bacteria called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Consumers of your beef products may also be at risk: it is estimated that 22% of antibiotic-resistant infections that occur in the US are linked to foodborne pathogens.

I ask that you do all you can to end the use of unnecessary antibiotics in Tyson’s cattle for the health and safety of your workers and consumers.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: NIAID

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4 Comments

  1. Tyson End Use Of Antibiotics in Cattle Now!

  2. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    stop drugging animals.

  3. If you take care of the animals in the proper manner, you would not have to use antibiotics or drugs! This is a serious issue! Stop!

  4. Nicolás Caballero Mühlbach says:

    Go vegan

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