01 December 2009

Wednesday a.m.: Congressional briefing on antibiotics in livestock - live-tweeted!

Folks: On Wednesday 2 December, at 9:30 a.m. EST, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) will host a Congressional briefing about antibiotic use in food animals. As a reminder, Rep. Slaughter is an MPH and Congress's only microbiologist, and the chief sponsor of PAMTA, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act that proposes restricting antibiotic use in animals to therapeutic uses under the guidance of a veterinarian and phases out "growth promotion" with sub-therapeutic doses, which consumes millions of pounds of antibiotics every year, many of them close analogs to human drugs.

Appearing at the briefing along with Rep. Slaughter are leaders of efforts that have produced an important string of reports on antibiotic overuse — the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production and the Extending the Cure project of Resources for the Future:
  • Michael Blackwell, DVM, MPH–former Vice Chair, Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production; Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS (ret.); Former Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.
  • Robert Lawrence, MD–Director, The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD.
  • Ramanan Laxminarayan, PhD, MPH–Senior Fellow, Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC
  • Robert Martin–Senior officer, Pew Environmental Group; former Executive Director, Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, Washington, DC
  • Lance Price, PhD– Director, Center for Metagenomics and Human Health, Translational Genomics Research Institute, Flagstaff, AZ
Here's a post explaining the importance of this issue from the blog of the Center for a Livable Future, a Johns Hopkins University research group that has produced some of the most mportant papers on leakage of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic residues from CAFOs ("confined" or "concentrated" "animal-feeding operations" — very, very large-scale farms). And here's some video on the issue from last summer from Lou Dobbs Tonight.

Because the event Wednesday is an informational briefing, not a hearing, I can't find any link for a live webcast. (I'll update if I find one.) But the hearing will be live-tweeted by the staff of the Center for a Livable Future (@LivableFuture) at the hashtag #CLF09. BLOGGERS: They will take tweeted questions toward the end of the hearing, ~10:45 a.m. — use the hashtag.

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