The vast majority of antibiotic usage in the the U.S. is not to treat disease in humans, but for preventative and growth promoting purposes in livestock. As this recent article in the Guardian reports, “The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2 million people in the country are infected with drug-resistant bacteria each year and that 23,000 die as a direct result.”
There is growing concern that antibiotic resistance is fueled by the widespread practices in the livestock industry, especially on large factory farms. The California law is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2018.
While this bill does not prevent the legitimate use of antibiotics to treat sick farm animals, just to prevent their prophylactic use, it will be interesting to see what effect it has on the livestock production practices. Will it lead to better treatment and confinement standards to avoid outbreaks of disease?
Here’s a link to the Guardian post: California brings in strict limits on use of antibiotics in livestock farming