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 Bill Seeks To End Antibiotic Use To Spur Animal Growth

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PostSubject: Bill Seeks To End Antibiotic Use To Spur Animal Growth   Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:06 pm

Bill Seeks To End Antibiotic Use To Spur Animal Growth

Published: July 13, 2009
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced Monday that it would seek to ban many routine uses of antibiotics in farm animals in hopes of reducing the spread of dangerous bacteria in humans.

In written testimony to the House Rules Committee, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs, said feeding antibiotics to healthy chickens, pigs and cattle — done to encourage rapid growth — should cease. And Dr. Sharfstein said farmers should no longer be able to use antibiotics in animals without the supervision of a veterinarian.

Both practices lead to the development of bacteria that are immune to many treatments, he said.

The hearing was held to discuss a measure proposed by Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York and chairwoman of the Rules Committee. It would ban seven classes of antibiotics important to human health from being used in animals, and would restrict other antibiotics to therapeutic and some preventive uses.

The legislation is supported by the American Medical Association, among other groups, but opposed by farm organizations like the National Pork Producers Council. The farm lobby’s opposition makes its passage unlikely, but advocates are hoping to include the measure in the legislation to revamp the health care system.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has estimated that as much as 70 percent of antibiotics used in the United States is given to healthy chickens, pigs and cattle to encourage their growth or to prevent illnesses.

The use of antibiotics for “purposes other than for the advancement of animal or human health should not be considered judicious use,” Dr. Sharfstein said in his written testimony. “Eliminating these uses will not compromise the safety of food.”

Much of Dr. Sharfstein’s testimony summarized information that has been widely accepted for years by medical groups. But many farm organizations dispute such claims.

“There are no good studies that show that some of these antibiotic-resistant diseases — and it seems like we’re seeing more of them — have any link to antibiotic use in food-animal production,” said Dave Warner, a spokesman for the pork producers’ group.

Robert Martin, a senior officer at the Pew Environment Group, which has paid for an advertising campaign to support the measure, said the prospects for the measure’s passage were improving.

“Just the fact that Congresswoman Slaughter is having a hearing today is a huge step forward,” Mr. Martin said.
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PostSubject: Re: Bill Seeks To End Antibiotic Use To Spur Animal Growth   Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:07 pm

It's about time this was taken seriously! Pumping livestock with antibiotics under the pretense of disease prevention can lead to health problems for the consumers who eat these animals -- some of which have been identified, and probably some that science hasn't proven yet.

And drugging the animals to get them bigger? Cruel for them, and most likely carcinogenic for the consumer! I would love to see this ban pass. But then, I would love to see an improved health care plan pass. As glad as I am that Obama is our Pres., I'm not holding my breath on either issue -- they'll face a lot of resistance from big lobbying groups.
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PostSubject: Re: Bill Seeks To End Antibiotic Use To Spur Animal Growth   Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:07 pm

This is very very good.
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