Last week, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future released a report claiming agriculture has made no progress in reducing antibiotic use and calling for more regulations. USA Today jumped on board with an editorial titled “Curbing antibiotics on farms taking too long.” In response, Iowa State University veterinarian and former USDA deputy undersecretary for food safety Scott Hurd wrote an opinion piece of his own, titled Farming is not a public health risk.
“The question is not whether agriculture uses 50% or 90% of all antibiotics sold, but whether animals need it,” Hurd writes. “If and when animals need medicine, it is unethical and wrong to withhold prevention or treatment. Despite what groups such as the Pew Commission and others say, modern farming is not a public health risk. It would be inhumane, unsafe and irresponsible to indiscriminately curb the use of antibiotics on the farm.”