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Antimicrobial Drug Use And Veterinary Costs In U.S. Livestock Production


  • Mathews, Kenneth H., Jr.


Antimicrobial drugs are fed to animals at low levels to treat diseases, to promote growth, and to increase feed efficiency. Incorporating low levels of antimicrobial drugs in livestock feeds has been shown to be a factor stimulating the development of antimicrobial drug resistant bacteria in livestock. Since many of the drugs used to treat livestock are the same as or are related to drugs used in human health care, there is concern that resistant organisms may pass from animals to humans through the handling of animals or food derived from animals. The movement of pathogens from animals to humans, and vice versa, has been documented, but the extent to which it has occurred or could occur is unknown. Although it is estimated that as little as 10 percent of the problems of drug-resistant pathogens in humans originate in livestock health care practices, there is currently considerable debate about the frequency and costs of human disease outbreaks resulting from animals infected with drug-resistant pathogens. Several European countries have banned the growth-promoting use of antimicrobial drugs in livestock production as a precautionary measure to prevent resistant organisms from passing from animals to humans. This report presents preliminary estimates suggesting that discontinuing the use of antimicrobial drugs in hog production would initially decrease feed efficiency, raise feed costs, reduce production, and raise prices to consumers. Longer term effects were not examined.

Suggested Citation

  • Mathews, Kenneth H., Jr., 2001. "Antimicrobial Drug Use And Veterinary Costs In U.S. Livestock Production," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33695, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uersab:33695

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthew T. Holt & Stanley R. Johnson, 1988. "Supply Dynamics in the U.S. Hog Industry," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 36(2), pages 313-335, July.
    2. Zilberman, David & Millock, Katti, 1997. "Pesticide Use And Regulation: Making Economic Sense Out Of An Externality And Regulation Nightmare," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 22(02), December.
    3. Mark A. Wade & Andrew P. Barkley, 1992. "The economic impacts of a ban on subtherapeutic antibiotics in swine production," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(2), pages 93-107.
    4. Bruce A. Babcock & Erik Lichtenberg & David Zilberman, 1992. "Impact of Damage Control and Quality of Output: Estimating Pest Control Effectiveness," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 74(1), pages 163-172.
    5. Dermot J. Hayes & Helen H. Jensen & Lennart Backstrom, 1999. "Economic Impact of a Ban on the Use of Over-the-Counter Antibiotics," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 99-sr90, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    6. D. Hueth & U. Regev, 1974. "Optimal Agricultural Pest Management with Increasing Pest Resistance," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 56(3), pages 543-552.
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    Cited by:

    1. Miller, Gay Y. & Liu, Xuanli & McNamara, Paul E. & Bush, Eric J., 2003. "Producer Incentives For Antibiotic Use In U.S. Pork Production," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 21931, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    2. William D. McBride & Nigel Key & Kenneth H. Mathews, 2008. "Subtherapeutic Antibiotics and Productivity in U.S. Hog Production," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 30(2), pages 270-288.
    3. Schulz, Lee L. & Hadrich, Joleen C., 2014. "Feeding Practices and Input Cost Performance in U.S. Hog Operations: The Case of Split-Sex and Phase Feeding," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 169983, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Brorsen, B. Wade & Lehenbauer, Terry & Ji, Dasheng & Connor, Joe, 2002. "Economic Impacts of Banning Subtherapeutic Use of Antibiotics in Swine Production," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(03), pages 489-500, December.
    5. Michael G. Hogberg & Kellie Curry Raper & James F. Oehmke, 2009. "Banning subtherapeutic antibiotics in U.S. swine production: a simulation of impacts on industry structure," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 314-330.
    6. Sneeringer, Stacy & MacDonald, James & Key, Nigel & McBride, William & Mathews, Ken, 2015. "Economics of Antibiotic Use in U.S. Livestock Production," Economic Research Report 229202, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    7. Jayson L. Lusk & F. Bailey Norwood & J. Ross Pruitt, 2006. "Consumer Demand for a Ban on Antibiotic Drug Use in Pork Production," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(4), pages 1015-1033.


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