Medicine: Drugged Cows

Antibiotics are feed for thought

Antibiotics like penicillin, streptomycin and tetracycline have revolutionized medicine, and they have been wonder drugs for agriculture as well. Today about two-thirds of our cattle and nearly all poultry, hogs and veal calves are raised on feed laced with the drugs. Animals consume almost 8 million Ibs. a year, nearly 40% of U.S. production. The antibiotics not only keep them healthy in their crowded pens but, for reasons not yet clear, also speed up growth on less feed. Now, after a quarter-century of largely uncritical acceptance, the practice is being sharply questioned. Reason: the drugs the...

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