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WHO To Farmers: Stop Giving So Many Antibiotics To Healthy Animals

The World Health Organization is pushing back on antibiotic use in food-producing animals.

In some countries, farmers routinely give medically important antibiotics to healthy animals "to promote growth and prevent disease." The WHO wants that to stop.

The reason? To make sure antibiotics keep working for humans. 

SEE MORE: These Genetically Modified Cows Don't Need Antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance is a rising global threat, and health professionals are running out of ways to treat certain diseases.

The WHO recommends healthy animals only get antibiotics if other animals in their flock or herd have been diagnosed with a disease. It also recommends disease prevention measures like improving hygiene and the use of vaccination.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration already limits the use of medically important antibiotics to promote growth in animals. In a statement, a U.S. Department of Agriculture official said the WHO guidelines "erroneously conflate disease prevention with growth promotion."

Still, the USDA said the industry does need to work on developing alternative therapies for disease prevention.

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