Antibiotics are chemicals produced by living organisms that are used to kill or inhibit the growth of other infectious micro-organisms. Most antibiotics prevent the growth of microorganisms, which they act on instead of completely killing them. Antibiotics are extra cellular products meaning that they can be extracted for use; Penicillin is an example of this as it comes from the fungus Penicillium notatum.
Hormones are chemicals that transfer information and instructions between cells in animals and plants. They regulate growth and development, controlling the function of various tissues. Like antibiotics, hormones can be produced and placed in animal feed, for example Bovine Somatotropin, which is given to cows to increases milk production.
The use of hormones and antibiotics in animal feed has been a controversial topic for many years. There are obvious advantages and disadvantages with the use of such products. Farmers see hormones and antibiotics as a major advantage as the increase their profits and gain the maximum out of their livestock. However, health concerned organizations want to ban the use of these products due to the increasing fears that they can cause harm to the consumers.
For over 50 years, antibiotics have been added to the food of animals such as poultry, cattle and pigs. The main purpose for doing so is to lower the risk of disease in animals. Farm animals are housed together in overcrowded areas, which are very dirty. The hygiene level can get to such a poor state that they are often in contact with their own excreta as well as excreta of the other animals they are housed with and because of tight single air space they share, the likelihood of catching diseases from one another is further increased and very often a whole heard can be infected at one time. If these problems could be eradicated it could save a lot of time and money for the farmers. The use of antibiotics and hormones before the livestock actually catches a disease...
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