Years of pressure from government, medical, and consumer groups to reduce human antibiotic use in agriculture seems to be moving the industry. Perdue Farms announced today that it is no longer using antibiotics in hatcheries. The statement from Perdue comes out against the use of drugs to promote animal growth. Perdue has been working on reducing its antibiotic use, and today, it says:

 Across our company, 95% of our chickens never receive any human antibiotics, and the remainder may receive them only for a few days when prescribed by a veterinarian.

Now that Perdue has shown that it can be done, there will be more pressure for the other big chicken producers — Pilgrim’s Pride, Tyson, and the rest — to step up as well. It’s also time for the medical establishment to do its part and crack down on overtreatment of human beings with antibiotics — on urinary tract and sinus infections, for example.

Meanwhile, if you want chicken farmers that go to much greater lengths than Perdue, you can find them, and help them grow.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.