Important news for anyone concerned about the spread of "pig MRSA" ST398: Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) have introduced a bill that would restrict important classes of antibiotics for use against disease only, taking them out of the realm of subtherapeutic use or growth promotion in agriculture. The bill would allow the use of the antibiotic classes for disease in animals as well as in humans; the intent is to preserve the drugs' effectiveness for as long as possible.
The text of the bill, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009, is here.
A Reuters story in which Slaughter predicts the bill will have a difficult time is here; she has introduced it several times in the past decade, but it has never made it through.
Support from the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production is here. An earlier version was supported by the American Academy of Family Physicians here.
The National Pork Producers' Council's response is here.
(Hat tip to Barry Estabrook at Politics of the Plate and to Melinda Hemmelgarn, the FoodSleuth.)
It's ridiculous that factory farms are allowed to overuse antibiotics on healthy animals, simply to avoid improving conditions.
I asked my senator to support this bill and I hope others will do the same. To me, this should be a bipartisan issue, since it directly affects the health of all humans.
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