A University of Calgary professor is warning that the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture has increased the level of drug resistant bacteria. However, he thinks he has a solution.
Every year, North American farmers use large amounts of antibiotics to treat disease in livestock and to encourage growth.
“Most antibiotic use is in fact for non-human purposes,” said economics professor Aidan Hollis. “Bacteria are able to develop resistance against antibiotics when exposed to them.”
Hollis believes the best solution to bacterial resistance is to reduce the amount of antibiotics used in livestock. He thinks this can be accomplished through a new tax.
“The idea is to set a user fee that would increase the cost of antibiotics in non-human uses. That would ultimately result in less use,” Hollis said.
This user fee would be imposed by the federal or provincial government. Hollis said this type of government regulation is necessary.
“It’s pretty obvious that something is going to happen. Either there’s going to be more regulatory oversight or there will be a ban in effect,” Hollis said. “[We need to ask] what are the proper policies to deal with the vast amounts of antibiotics being used when there is this clear negative effect on human health.”