Senators unveil bipartisan bill to restrict use of antibiotics in food animals
By Julian Pecquet - 06/16/11 05:27 PM ET
Four senators - three Democrats and a Republican - have introduced legislation that would restrict the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
The bill is a companion measure to legislation introduced earlier in the House by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.). It would ban farmers from using seven classes of antibiotics critical for human health expect to treat sick animals.
The bill comes as the House on Wednesday repealed a provision of the 2012 agriculture spending bill that aimed to prevent the Food and Drug Administration from similarly restricting antibiotic use in livestock and poultry. The amendment, from Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), drew concerns from Energy and Commerce Chair Fred Upton (R-Mich.) because of its wide-ranging policy implications.
"Congressman Rehberg has been working with Chairman Upton to highlight his concerns about FDA's burdensome and unscientific regulations on Montana's ag community while avoiding any unintended consequences that could come through the appropriations process," Rehberg spokesman Jed Link told The Hill. Read More
Theres a couple of things that never get talked about when this issue comes up. First is that healthy livestock contribute to a healthy human population. And the other is that by not preventing disease, we will end up treating the disease. This means that we will end up using more antibiotics in the long run. I have always used antibiotics in a very judicious manner because I want them to continue to work as well. The added expense is also a big deterrent for anyone to use them inappropriately.
Along with that, any serious reform must involve discussions about how doctors prescribe, and patients use, antibiotics as well. Livestock use is only part of the total equation.