Thanks to voluntary and mandated reduction of antibiotics, both the chicken and turkey industries made major reductions in their use of both medically important and non-medically important antibiotics.
During the 2014-2015 outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, the US poultry industry learned rapid depopulation stops viral replication on an infected farm and reduces the likelihood of further spread of the virus. However, it can be difficult to quickly and humanely euthanize large numbers of caged layers or large turkeys.
The debate of antibiotic use in animal agriculture revolves around the concept that antibiotic usage in food animals may induce antibiotic resistance in bacteria that may be transmitted from food animals to humans via the consumption of contaminated food products of animal origin. This has been a subject of scientific and public policy debate for years. Public health advocacy groups, consumer groups, and even members of Congress have actively joined the public discussion.
The global poultry industry has advanced from a very simple and fragmented industry in the 1950s to a highly sophisticated, technologically advanced, highly efficient production system in the 21st century. In the course of its advancement, the poultry industry has created countless jobs, enhanced local and national economies, and provided a high quality, safe meat protein source at a nominal cost for a rapidly expanding global human population.