Antimicrobial Policies in United States Beef Production: Choosing the Right Instruments to Reduce Antimicrobial Use and Resistance Under Structural and Market Constraints.
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Antimicrobial use (AMU) in animal agriculture contributes to the selection of resistant bacteria, potentially constituting a public health threat. To address antimicrobial resistance, public policies set by governments, as well as intra-sectoral approaches, can be implemented. In this paper, we explore how common policy instruments such as regulations, economic incentives, and voluntary agreements could help reduce AMU in beef production. We first describe the structure of the beef supply chain which directly influences the choice of policy instruments. We describe how externalities and imperfect information affect this system. We then discuss how five policy instruments would each perform to achieve a reduction in AMU. Bovine respiratory disease complex (BRD) represents the major driver of AMU in beef production; consequently, reducing its incidence would decrease significantly the amounts of antimicrobials administered. We consider control options for BRD at different stages of the beef supply chain.