This report will review the history of antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) use in the animal industry, concerns about development of antimicrobial resistance, and response in the European Union and United States to these concerns. A brief description of the history of legislation regarding feed use of antimicrobials in Denmark and the experience of animal producers following the 1998 ban will serve to illustrate the consequences on animal performance and health of withdrawing the approval for this use. The biological basis for antibiotic effects on animal growth efficiency will consider effects on intestinal microbiota and effects on the host animal and will use the germ-free animal to illustrate effects of the conventional microflora. The probability that no single compound will replace all of the functions of antimicrobial growth promoters will be considered, and methods to consolidate and analyze the enlarging database will be discussed.