Court Ruling: Feds Should Restrict Livestock Drugs

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The U.S. government has been ordered to begin an agressive process that would restrict the use of antibiotics in livestock.

An order, issued by a federal judge, has triggered a process that many scientists say could end the use of the drugs in farm animals that proliferate dangerous inflections and imperil public health. An FDA spokeswoman said late Friday that the agency was considering its next steps. The ruling came just a few days before the FDA said it would issue draft rules that ask drug companies and ranchers to voluntarily end the use of antibiotics in animals without the oversight of a veterinarian.

It's estimated that 80 percent of antibiotics bought in the United States are used in animals. Meanwhile, outbreaks of illnesses from antibiotic-resistant bacteria continue to grow nationwide. The FDA was petitioned in 1999 and again in 2005 by environmental and health groups to ban the drugs aimed at promoting animal growth. In particular, the petitions targeted penicillin and tetracycline.

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