U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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Agricultural Research Magazine 60(5): May-June 2012 pp. 2; ISSN 0002-161X


The general public needs to know more about the importance of preventing and controlling livestock diseases and the financial impact they would have on our lives and food supply if left unchecked. Part of our mission at the USDA Agricultural Research Service is to conduct research to protect the safety of our nation’s agriculture and food supply through improved disease detection, prevention, and control.

Antibiotics are recognized as one of the most important biomedical discoveries for treating infectious diseases of animals and humans. The use of antibiotics has had a major impact on increases in food-animal production and has resulted in extraordinary progress in safeguarding the health and well-being of people. Yet, while antibiotic use is critical for treating animal diseases, growing concerns about the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are leading to restrictions on antibiotic use in animal production worldwide.

A call for reduced use of antibiotics in food-animal production has heightened existing searches for new antimicrobials, but finding alternatives to antibiotics has become a main objective of the global scientific community.