March 14, 2013
Humane Groups Commend Rep. Slaughter for Reintroduction of Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act
The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal protection organization, and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, a national veterinary organization with a focus on animal health and welfare, join in praising Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., for reintroducing the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act.
In order to maintain the effectiveness of antibiotics for treating sick people and animals, this legislation would phase out the routine non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in farm animals, a common practice to promote growth and compensate for overcrowded, stressful, unsanitary conditions on factory farms. In the United States, antibiotic uses in animal agriculture account for more than 70 percent of total sales of medically important antibiotics.
Michael Blackwell, DVM, MPH, an HSVMA member and former deputy director for the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said: “We commend Representative Slaughter – the only microbiologist in Congress – for continuing to tackle the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture. Whenever antibiotics are used there is a chance that some exposed bacteria will develop resistance to the antibiotic, a resistance which can be passed to other bacteria. Efforts to reduce resistant infections must include changes in agricultural practices.”
Nearly 450 organizations representing agricultural, health, environmental, animal protection, hunger, labor, religious and other concerns endorse this legislation. In addition, 115 individual veterinary professionals have signed a petition sponsored by the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, which reads:
“We, the undersigned licensed veterinary professionals, support the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, federal legislation that would phase out the routine non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in farm animals. Antibiotic overuse is a common practice in animal agriculture to compensate for overcrowded, stressful and unsanitary conditions on factory farms. Profligate use of these drugs threatens to ruin the effectiveness of antibiotics for treating sick animals and people. As medical professionals, we support efforts to restrict such non-judicious uses of antibiotics in order to protect animal and human health.”
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