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From VOA Learning English, this is the Science Report.
A new study has found the amount of antibiotics given to farm animals is expected to increase by two-thirds over the next 15 years. Researchers are linking the growing dependence on the drugs to rising demand for meat, milk and eggs. The researchers warn the drugs could quicken the development of antibiotic-resistant infections. Such infections are already a major public health concern in the United States. Increasing wealth in Asia means people there are eating nearly four times as much meat, milk and dairy products as they did 50 years ago. To meet that demand, farms now keep many animals in smaller spaces. Gail Hansen is a veterinarian, a doctor who treats animals. She works for the Pew Charitable Trusts. Dr. Hansen says often the easiest way to deal with crowded animals is to give them antibiotics. She says antibiotics help the animals stay healthy in crowded spaces and grow faster. But bacteria can develop resistance to the drugs, and those bacteria can spread to people. Doctors find that antibiotics that once worked against the infections no longer do. In the United States, at least 2 million people get drug-resistant infections each year. At least 23,000 die from infections. Ramanan Laxminarayan heads the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy. He says the problem is expected to get worse. He believes the use of antibiotics in animals will soon increase sharply. He says that will not be good for human health. Researchers say antibiotic use will double in countries like China, India and Brazil.