WASHINGTON, March 3 (UPI) — U.S. regulators are expected to approve the use of a powerful antibiotic in cattle despite warnings it would speed the appearance of resistant microbes.

InterVet Inc., a Delaware company, has applied to the Food and Drug Administration to market Cefquinome for treatment of a pneumonia-like disease, the Washington Post reported. Its application is likely to be granted because of a change in FDA rules, unless a demonstrated direct danger to humans can be shown.

Critics like Edward Belongia, an epidemiologist at the Wisconsin-based Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, point to the approval of two powerful drugs in the 1990s for use in poultry. Doctors soon encountered a drug-resistant strain of campylobacter.

The industry says that ‘until you show us a direct link to human mortality from the use of these drugs in animals, we don’t think you should preclude their use,’ Belongia told the Post. But do we really want to drive more resistance genes into the human population? It’s easy to open the barn door, but it’s hard to close the door once it’s open.