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1. Does the use of antibiotics in CAFO-raised animals contribute to antibiotic resistant organisms that impair human health? Read the Consumer’s Union paper in the readings folder, and the response from the Meat Institute, and use your best scientific literacy skills to ask: are the authors credible (and who are they?) What are the biases? What was the purpose of each study and what can be believed? Are there citations? Do a careful analysis in a minimum of 10 sentences – I would a thoughtful answer based on the 2 papers to read. Use other papers in the readings as well for full credit.2. Summarize and evaluate factsheet_livestockslongshadow paper from the readings and answer the questions such as: Is there good evidence that the BOLD diet is truly effective? What evidence do they give? Can you research this a little further?



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Critical Analysis of Livestock’s Long Shadow | fact sheet
Shortfalls of Livestock’s Long Shadow
In November 2006, a report from the United Nations (U.N.) Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) titled Livestock’s Long Shadow was released. The report’s primary publicized finding was
livestock production accounts for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
However, the statistics cited by Livestock’s Long Shadow differ significantly from those calculated
by other reputable organizations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA)—the U.S. authority on the environment and climate change. The claims made
about global livestock production are not relevant to the United States.
Those who claim the FAO report calls for reduced consumption of animal products fail to
understand the authors’ intentions.

The FAO report does not call for reduced consumption of animal products and,
in fact, projects a doubling of meat production by 2050.

U.S. livestock production practices should be considered a model for the rest
of the world. According to Livestock’s Long Shadow, intensification provides
“large opportunities for climate change mitigation,” “can reduce greenhouse
gas emissions from deforestation,” and is the long-term solution to sustainable
livestock production.
Livestock Production and GHG Emissions
The report’s estimate for livestock’s contribution to GHG emissions (18%) is a global estimate,
and not applicable to the United States or other developed countries.

The entire U.S. agriculture sector accounts for only 6 percent of annual U.S.
GHG emission, according to EPA (
emissions/downloads09/InventoryUSGhG1990-2007.pdf). Of this, livestock
production is estimated to account for 2.8 percent of total U.S. emissions.

A 2007 study by the University of Surrey, United Kingdom (U.K.), found
that livestock production plus processing accounted for 6.6 percent of U.K.
GHG emissions.
The 18 percent figure is far higher than the percentage calculated by other organizations.

Another global estimate of livestock production found worldwide, livestock
and manure contribute 5.1 percent to world GHG emissions (World Resources
Institute or WRI:
This same group estimated that in the United States, livestock and manure
contributed 2.5 percent to U.S. GHG emissions
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© Copyright 2009 Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association | Updated 4/2009
Critical Analysis of Livestock’s Long Shadow | fact sheet
Livestock Related Land Changes
Livestock’s Long Shadow penalizes the livestock industry for emissions from land-use changes,
specifically deforestation for feed production and grazing. Globally, a loss of sequestration due to
these land-use changes amounts to roughly 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year
(about 48% of total GHG emissions the report attributes to livestock).

This type of land-use change does not occur in the United States, which actually
has 16 million more acres of forestland than a century ago, according to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).
The most significant change that affects carbon levels in the United States is the conversion of
agricultural lands to development, which reduces land available for carbon sequestration.
Grain Raised for Livestock Feed
The FAO report vastly overestimates the amount of nitrogen fertilizer used in the United States
to produce feed grain for livestock and the amount of CO2 emissions associated with fertilizer
use. Using USDA feed grain acreage data and typical nitrogen fertilizer application rates, it is
estimated only 690,000 metric tonnes of nitrogen fertilizer is used to produce U.S. feed grains.
Based on FAO’s conversion factor, this fertilizer use should result in only 1.725 million tonnes of
CO2 being produced—nearly 7 times less than the FAO estimate of 11.7 million tonnes.
Energy Required to Produce Food
The FAO report claims fossil fuel used to produce fertilizer and animal feed and to transport
and produce products accounts for the bulk of energy used in livestock systems. Without a
comparable figure for vegetables, grains and fruits produced for human consumption, it is
impossible to use the FAO statistics as an indictment of livestock production.

Because food is required for human life, studies like this should analyze not only
the energy required to produce a specific food, but also the energy obtained from
the food.

A 1997 University of Exeter study found typical salad vegetables require
45 megajoules (MJ) of fossil fuel energy to produce one MJ of food energy, fish
require 36 MJ and fresh fruit requires 10-22 MJ. For meat proteins, beef requires
8 MJ, chicken 7 MJ and lamb 6 MJ. These data accounted for similar inputs as
the FAO report (–surprisinglyprocessed- food-is-easier-on-the-planet.html).
Livestock and Methane Production
Methane emissions in the United States are on the decline. According to EPA, overall U.S.
methanelevels declined 5.1 percent from 1990 to 2007.

Methane from livestock accounts for only 2.6 percent of total U.S. GHG
emissions (EPA 2009).
Page 2 of 3
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© Copyright 2009 Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association | Updated 4/2009
Critical Analysis of Livestock’s Long Shadow | fact sheet
At-A-Glance: Critical Analysis of Livestock’s Long Shadow (LLS)
Clai m
GHG emissions
LLS: Livestock = 18% globally
EPA: Total U.S. agriculture = 6% in United States
EPA: Livestock = 2.8% in United States
WRI: Livestock = 5.1% globally
WRI: Livestock = 2.5% in United States
CO2 from feed
grain production
LLS: 11.7 million tonnes
Estimate from USDA data: 1.7 million tonnes
LLS: “Livestock induced”
emissions from deforestation =
2.4 billion tonnes CO2/year
USDA & USFS: United States =
16 million more acres of forestland
than a century ago
Page 3 of 3
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© Copyright 2009 Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association | Updated 4/2009
The Facts About Antibiotics in
Livestock & Poultry Production
Sort fact from fiction.
The Facts About Antibiotics
in Livestock & Poultry Production
Consumers are rightfully asking many questions about how livestock and
poultry are raised and we want to answer those questions. Few issues
are as complex, however, as the issue of antibiotic use in livestock and
poultry production. Meat and poultry
companies recognize – and share –
Meat and poultry producers
consumers’ desire for safe meat and
realize the importance of
poultry products that will nourish
using antibiotics judiciously
their families. While antibiotics are
to ensure their continued
as necessary for livestock and poultry
health as they are for human health,
meat and poultry producers realize
the importance of using antibiotics judiciously to ensure their continued
effectiveness in animals and people.
This brochure provides well-referenced information to help you sort fact
from fiction, to learn about changes under way in the meat and poultry
industry and to help you make the best choices from the diverse options
in America’s abundant meat case.
Antibiotics are substances that can destroy bacteria. They are widely used
for the prevention, control and treatment of diseases and infections.
While our understanding of how antibiotics work has expanded in recent
decades, antibiotics are not new. Centuries ago, ancient Egyptians,
Chinese and Central American Indians used molds to treat infected
wounds, though they did not understand how or why these molds were
In the late 1880s, scientists began to identify antibiotics derived from
molds and set in motion a new chapter in medical treatment. It wasn’t
until the 1940s, however, that penicillin, which is derived from a mold,
became commercially available. Its widespread use to treat infections
saved many military personnel injured or wounded during World War II.
In the 20th century, livestock and poultry producers also incorporated
antibiotics into their comprehensive animal husbandry practices that also
include clean water and nutritious
food for their animals, shelter from
heat and cold, vaccinations and
medical treatment when needed.
But some have raised concerns that
antibiotics may be used too often.1
A new analysis2 published as a
letter to the New England Journal
of Medicine by officials from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and IMS Health shows
that U.S. doctors are prescribing enough antibiotics to treat four out of
five Americans every year, and the authors say the data suggests they are
being overused in humans. Health care providers prescribed 258 million
courses of antibiotics in 2010. A more recent 2013 CDC report3 found
that half of prescriptions given to people are unnecessary.
1 “The spread of superbugs,” The Economist, March 31, 2011, accessed at
2 U.S. Outpatient Antibiotic Prescribing, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine, April 11, 2013,
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web Site, accessed February 24, 2014 at
Why Do Antibiotics Require Caution?
Like the rest of the animal kingdom,
species of bacteria have many different
characteristics that vary widely. Some
antibiotics can be extremely effective
against certain bacteria but may not work
to treat other bacteria. That’s why it is
important to treat problem bacteria with
the correct antibiotic.
In general, the ability
of bacteria to develop
defenses against assaults
from antibiotics makes
ongoing research critical.
Experts say that giving high doses of antibiotics to treat infections –
an approach long thought to be the best strategy to “knock out” an
infection – may actually trigger some bacteria to become resistant. In
simple terms, in the face of a threat to survival, some bacteria put up
their best defenses. Other bacteria are naturally resistant to certain
Another reason for caution: when an antibiotic is administered, it
impacts the entire population of bacteria in the body. When some
bacteria that are susceptible to the antibiotic are destroyed, other
bacteria may thrive because there is less competition and they begin to
multiply. Sometimes, these remaining bacteria are resistant to one or
more antibiotics and a larger problem can develop.
Resistance develops in bacteria when they are challenged, but not
destroyed, as they might be with the wrong antibiotic, with too low
a dose or too short a course of treatment,
which is why antibiotic prescription
bottles often say “Finish all medications.”
Veterinary Use and Oversight
Because livestock and
poultry are consumed
for food, regulatory and
veterinary oversight of
the use of antibiotics is
particularly strict.
Like people, animals become ill and can
develop conditions similar to common
human infections like pneumonia, skin
infections and others. Most pet owners have experienced the need to
give their cats and dogs antibiotics to treat infections. Livestock and
poultry are no different. Not providing antibiotics when needed would
harm a sick animal’s well-being and could cause a more widespread
infection in other animals in a home, herd or flock.
Because livestock and poultry are consumed for food, regulatory and
veterinary oversight of the use of antibiotics is particularly strict. The Food
and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine must
approve all antibiotics used for food producing animals. There are four
broad categories of antibiotic use:
Treatment – antibiotics are given to treat an animal with a diagnosed
Control – antibiotics can be given to control the spread of an illness on
a farm or ranch in the face of an outbreak.
Prevention – because livestock and poultry share water and feed
troughs and seek close contact with one another by licking, laying on
each other and even rubbing snouts and noses, illnesses can spread
rapidly. Sometimes, veterinarians recommend using antibiotics to
prevent diseases at times when livestock are particularly at risk, like
during weaning from the mother. Swift, preventive actions often mean a
livestock will receive fewer antibiotics than they would have if they had
not received a preventive dose.
Growth Promotion – The use of some antibiotics can destroy certain
bacteria in the gut and help livestock and poultry convert feed to muscle
more quickly causing more rapid growth. This class of use has been the
subject of controversy and scrutiny, and in 2012, FDA4 asked livestock and
poultry producers to phase out use of antibiotics for growth purposes. The
American Meat Institute (AMI) and its members support FDA’s decision.
4 Food and Drug Administration Web site,
Medical, Veterinary and Regulatory Oversight
Antibiotics, whether used in humans,
In 2012, FDA asked livestock
livestock or poultry, are overseen by
and poultry producers to
physicians and veterinarians to ensure
that they are used appropriately. While phase out use of antibiotics
many in the public health community
for growth purposes. The
urge doctors to use restraint in
American Meat Institute
prescribing antibiotics, many physicians
(AMI) and its members
report that patients demand them
support FDA’s decision.
even when they are not warranted
and they feel pressured to satisfy their
patients.5 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), “Every time a person takes antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed,
but resistant germs may be left to grow and multiply. Repeated and
improper uses of antibiotics are primary causes of the increase in drugresistant bacteria.” 6
In September 2013, the CDC released a new report called Antibiotic
Resistance Threats in the United States. According to the report, 50
percent of all the antibiotics prescribed for people are not needed or are not
optimally effective. In releasing the report, CDC Director Thomas Frieden,
MD, said, “Right now the most acute problem is in hospitals. And the most
5 Injudicious antibiotic use: An unforeseen consequence of the emphasis on patient satisfaction,
6 Centers for Disease Control Web site, downloaded at
resistant organisms in hospitals are
emerging in those settings, because of
poor antimicrobial stewardship among
“Right now the most acute
problem is in hospitals.
And the most resistant
organisms in hospitals
The report expressed concern about the
are emerging in those
use of antibiotics for growth promotion in settings, because of poor
animal production and said they should be antimicrobial stewardship
phased out, an effort that is underway and
among humans.”
that the meat industry supports.
Thomas Frieden, MD, director,
Clearly, it is essential that veterinarians
Centers for Disease Control and
exercise their medical judgment and
careful oversight of antibiotic use in
livestock and poultry production. FDA recently took steps to expand the role
of the veterinarian in managing antibiotics given to food-producing animals.
In addition, antibiotic use for growth promotion is being discontinued. AMI
and its members support FDA’s efforts to increase veterinary oversight of all
antibiotic use.
Despite claims to the contrary, data show limited overlap in antibiotics given
to humans and animals, which offers additional protection.
Antibiotics Used in Humans and Animals
The vast majority of antibiotics are used either
in people or in animals – not both.
Use By Volume
less than 1%
Sources: 2011 Summary Report on Antibiotics Sold or Distributed for Use in Food Producing Animals, downloaded at
downloads/ForIndustry/UserFees/AnimalDrugUserFeeActADUFA/UCM338170.pdf and Drug Use Review, Food and Drug Administration, Center
for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology, April 5, 2012, downloaded at
*Ionophores are never used in human medicine
Residues Monitored by USDA
Whenever an antibiotic is given to a food animal, a strict waiting or
“withdrawal” period is required before that animal can be processed
into meat or poultry. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
conducts a monitoring program to ensure that antiibotics are effectively
eliminated from animals’ systems and that no unsafe residues are
detected in meat and poultry. 7
When illegal antibiotic residues are detected, AMI and its members
support rapid trace back and corrective actions, like removing that
product from the food supply and providing immediate feedback to
producers, to correct the problem.
Overall Trends in Use
Meat and poultry producers
recognize the confusion and
concern that exists around
antibiotic use in meat and
poultry production.
Media reports often cite the total
amount of antibiotics used in animals
in a given year and sound alarms if it
reflects an increase over the previous
year. However, looking at the total
volume used is a poor measure of appropriate use because livestock
herds and poultry flocks shrink and expand with feed costs and other
marketplace factors. Larger herds and flocks will, inevitably, require more
medical treatment. In addition, if a contagious disease has impacted our
herds and flocks, more antibiotics may be required that year.
So what is the overall trend? There is no question that antibiotic use in
livestock and poultry production is declining on a per animal basis as
meat and poultry producers respond to public concern and as antibiotic
use for growth promotion is phased out voluntarily at FDA’s request.
Choices in the Marketplace
All meat and poultry products are inspected before they are sold.
This should provide assurance that products are safe. However, some
consumers with concerns prefer to buy other products derived from
animals never given antibiotics.
6 USDA National Residue Monitoring Program,
* 2010 and 2011 Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food Producing Animals, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; U.S.
Department of Agriculture livestock herd and poultry flock data. Trend calculated by dividing total antibiotic use in livestock and poultry in 2010 by
combined herd and flock inventories in 2010 and repeating the calculation using 2011 data. Data show a decline from 2010 to 2011.
Common choices in the marketplace include:
Organic ­— the National Organic Program (NOP) requires that livestock
or poultry are never given antibiotics. When an animal becomes ill on an
organic farm and requires antibiotics – an event that is not unusual – that
animal is treated and sent into a conventional production system and will
not bear an organic label.
‘Raised Without Antibiotics’ or Similar Claim ­— these products are
derived from animals raised without antibiotics. While this parallels
organic production, these products may be derived from animal …
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