Global Livestock Antibiotic Use expected to Skyrocket by 2030

Antibiotic effectiveness imperiled as use in livestock expected to increase 67 percent by 2030

Antibiotics use in livestock is predicted to increase by as much as 67% by 2030 to more than 105,000 tons, and possibly endanger the effectiveness of antimicrobials in humans, according to researchers from Princeton University, the International Livestock Research Institute, the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy.

antibiotic use in livestock image
Princeton University-led research found that antibiotic consumption in livestock worldwide could rise by 67 percent between 2010 and 2030. Pigs outpace chickens and cattle in estimates of antimicrobial consumption in countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which is a consortium of 34 nations that includes the United States and most of the European Union countries. The graph measures antibiotic consumption in milligrams (bottom bar) in cattle, chickens and pork per population correction unit, or PCU, which corresponds to 1 kilogram of the respective animal. The average amount of antibiotics increases from left to right. The researchers found that pigs could consume an average 172 mg of antibiotics per kilogram of animal compared to 148 mg for chickens and 45 mg for cattle. (Image courtesy of Thomas Van Boeckel, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)

2015 Study Abstract

Demand for animal protein for human consumption is rising globally at an unprecedented rate. Modern animal production practices are associated with regular use of antimicrobials, potentially increasing selection pressure on bacteria to become resistant. Despite the significant potential consequences for antimicrobial resistance, there has been no quantitative measurement of global antimicrobial consumption by livestock. We address this gap by using Bayesian statistical models combining maps of livestock densities, economic projections of demand for meat products, and current estimates of antimicrobial consumption in high-income countries to map antimicrobial use in food animals for 2010 and 2030. We estimate that the global average annual consumption of antimicrobials per kilogram of animal produced was 45 mg⋅kg−1, 148 mg⋅kg−1, and 172 mg⋅kg−1 for cattle, chicken, and pigs, respectively. Starting from this baseline, we estimate that between 2010 and 2030, the global consumption of antimicrobials will increase by 67%, from 63,151 ± 1,560 tons to 105,596 ± 3,605 tons. Up to a third of the increase in consumption in livestock between 2010 and 2030 is imputable to shifting production practices in middle-income countries where extensive farming systems will be replaced by large-scale intensive farming operations that routinely use antimicrobials in subtherapeutic doses. For Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, the increase in antimicrobial consumption will be 99%, up to seven times the projected population growth in this group of countries. Better understanding of the consequences of the uninhibited growth in veterinary antimicrobial consumption is needed to assess its potential effects on animal and human health.

Sources and more information
  • Global trends in antimicrobial use in food animals, pnas. 10.1073/pnas.1503141112, March 19, 2015. Supporting Information, PDF.
  • Global Livestock Antibiotic Use Expected To Increase 67% By 2030, princeton.edu, Mar 20, 2015.
  • Use of Antibiotics in Agriculture Expected to Skyrocket Worldwide, HealthlineNews, 23 March 2015.
  • Scientists Model Global Trends in Animal Antibiotic Use, foodsafetynews, MARCH 23, 2015.
  • Growth of global antibiotic use for livestock raises concerns about drug resistance, medicalnewstoday, 24 March 2015.
  • Antibiotic effectiveness imperiled as use in livestock expected to increase 67 percent by 2030, princeton.edu, March 26, 2015.

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