The ethics of antibiotics use in animal farming

Ncayiyana, Philisiwe Precious
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The unnecessary use of antimicrobials poses a global threat to human health by contributing to the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) development. This report evaluates the ethical and scientific implications of non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in animal farming. The report also critiques O'Neill's (2016) Final Report on AMR. The report provides a normative assessment and analysis of scientific evidence and ethical issues involved in farming with antibiotics making use of Mepham's Ethical Matrix. The report makes the case that non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in animal farming contributes to AMR development and that it is not ethically justifiable for farmers to carry on farming with antibiotics non-therapeutically. The study also argues that intensive factory farming poses the greatest risk in the preservation of all classes of antibiotics because it is customary to use antibiotics where a large number of animals are kept in close proximity for example, in poultry farming. An immediate ban of antibiotics deemed medically important for humans in animal farming is necessary in order to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance. This however, must go hand in hand with preparation for abandonment of intensive farming systems in order for a ban to be successful. The study also recommends the adoption of O'Neill's (2016) recommendations on tackling AMR. In addition, a national public awareness campaign is justified by the threat posed by AMR. Governments and other relevant stakeholders involved should formulate policies or frameworks to deal with the problem with the urgency it requires
A Research report submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Science in Medicine Bioethics and Health Law. Johannesburg, 2017
Animal Farming