Antibiotics in manure and soil: a grave threat to human and animal health

Purpose of this policy paper is to invoke general awareness about the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in agriculture and its impact on human health and terrestrial environment. Growth promoting properties of antibiotics in farm animals were first discovered in the late 1940’s in chickens and pigs. Feeding of sub-therapeutic doses of antimicrobials to the farm animals was readily adopted and it has now become an integral part of the farm animal/fish production systems. In spite of tremendous beneficial effects in improving feed efficiency and live-stock productivity, antibiotics are now found loosing ground as additives in animal feed, because of their effect on development of resistance in some deadly bacteria in the animal gut and in the terrestrial environment. Today, there is a growing concern over the use of antibiotics to promote growth of animals.