A medical illustration of Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, considered “nightmare bacteria” because of its resistance to many antibiotics. (Melissa Brower/Associated Press)

It was disappointing to see only passing mention in the July 29 news article “A transatlantic push for antibiotics” of the fact that antibiotic resistance is caused in large part by “decades of overuse in animal agriculture.” Indeed, according to the Food and Drug Administration, roughly 80 percent of all antibiotics produced in the United States are given to farm animals. This is a practice that is broadly condemned by health, environmental and animal welfare experts, and yet it continues unabated because of our broken political system, in which agribusiness profits take precedence over public health. 

It is darkly ironic that taxpayers are on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars aimed at fixing a problem that our government is enabling. And while these efforts focused on discovering new antibiotics may or may not produce results, we know that eliminating antibiotics from food production would prolong their usefulness. 

Bruce Friedrich, Washington

The writer is executive director of the
Good Food Institute.