Harm to Others: The Social Cost of Antibiotics in Agriculture
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It has become increasingly clear that the use of antibiotics in conventionally raised livestock contributes to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In this paper, I argue that the harm principle of classical liberalism should guide agricultural policy in general, and the regulation of antibiotics in livestock in particular. After developing an interpretation of the harm principle, and framing the choice to produce and consume animals treated with antibiotics as a classic prisoner’s dilemma, I consider some policy responses to the problem, including a ban on the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics.
KeywordsHarm principle Antibiotic-resistance Conventional agriculture Pigovian tax Food labeling
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