Half of antibiotics produced in China fed to animals

Of the 210,000 tonnes of antibiotics made in China each year, 97,000 tonnes end up in animals, Xiao Yonghong, a professor from the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology of Peking University, was quoted as saying by the People's Daily.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences found that over 50 percent of livestock breeders in Shandong and Liaoning provinces added antibiotics to their animals' fodder.

"The overuse of antibiotics is common now, which has led to a rising death rate among animals as their immune systems are depressed," said Qi Guanghai, deputy head of the Feed Research Institute under the academy.

A 650-gram premature baby born in Guangzhou developed resistance to seven kinds of antibiotics, due to his mother's daily intake of meat and eggs that contained remnants of antibiotics, the report said.

China recently reported its first cases of the new NDM-1 superbug, which is resistant to nearly all antibiotics.

Tu Yan, a researcher from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said: "In Europe, antibiotics have been banned from being added to fodder for many years and a similar ban will be implemented in South Korea next year."

China introduced antibiotics into its breeding industry for their outstanding effect on preventing diseases in the 1990s.

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