Farmers discovered ages ago that chickens given a small preventative dose of antibiotics grow faster and have less disease problems than those raised antibiotic-free. Antibiotics also reduce salmonella and campylobacter bacteria in the chickens’ intestines. These bacteria are harmful to humans; during processing, they can be released, contaminating the carcass and making people sick. But through the years, repeated antibiotic use has resulted in some bacteria developing resistance. Canadian chicken farmers are stepping down their antibiotic use now.

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