Even though the usage of antibiotics in animal feed puts human health in danger, the federal appeals court upheld the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy that discourages but does not ban such use on Thursday.

The divided 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York came to a 2-1majority conclusion that the FDA was authorized to dismiss two citizen challenges one from 1999 and 2005 that challenged the policy.

Antibiotics are used in animal feed to beef up the animals, but while they promote weight gain they cause the animals to develop “superbug” which could cause bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics. Consequentially, we can become sick from eating these animals.

In 1977, the FDA proposed to ban these types of feeds, but never went through with it. However, in December, the FDA began phasing out abundant use of antibiotics in feed, with an exception for medical necessity. The 26 drugmakers that would effected by this plan according to the FDA agreed to “fully engage in” the phase out.

“While the agency regards the indiscriminate and extensive use of such drugs in animal feed as threatening, it does not necessarily believe that the administration of antibiotics to animals in their feed is inherently dangerous to human health,” Circuit Judge Gerald Lynch wrote.

Reuters reported that lawyer Jennifer Sorenson said the decision “effectively gives the FDA a free pass to ignore the science when it is politically inconvenient.”

The widespread use of antibiotics in factory farming is often the result of attempting to keep animals healthy when they are living in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions.

Check out my past story about a farm upstate New York and remember to buy antibiotic-free meat and support local farmers!

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