Powerful ‘last resort’ antibiotic heavily used worldwide

Farmers are using thousands of tonnes of colistin on healthy chickens to boost their weight.

2,800 tonnes of colistin was shipped to developing countries in 2016. The powerful antibiotic is given to chickens and other farm animals to make them gain weight faster and to prevent disease.

The antibiotic is used as a last resort in humans to treat diseases which aren’t responding to other drugs. A colistin resistant gene could leave some infections untreatable.

The new research from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism which found that colistin is being shipped to India, Vietnam, Mexico, Colombia and Bolivia. You can read more about this story in The Independent.


Overuse of antibiotics in animals is contributing to the danger of antibiotic resistance. The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics was co-founded by Sustain and campaigns to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animal farming.

Save Our Antibiotics


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Save Our Antibiotics: The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics is a coalition of health, medical, environmental and animal welfare groups campaigning to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animal farming. It was founded by the Soil Association, Compassion in World Farming, and Sustain, and is supported by the Jeremy Coller Foundation.

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