Bill would ban nonmedical drug use in US livestock
Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:43pm EDT
By Christopher Doering
WASHINGTON, March 17 (Reuters) - Despite growing public support to ban the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in food animals, a U.S. representative said on Tuesday efforts to move legislation through Congress this year could be met with resistance.
The bill, introduced in the House of Representatives by Louise Slaughter and in the Senate by Edward Kennedy, would ban the use of antibiotics important to human health from being used on cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry unless animals are ill.
Drug manufacturers would be allowed to sell antibiotics for uses other than humans if they can show there is no danger to public health from microbes developing resistance to them.
"We're up against a pretty strong lobby. It will really come down to whether members of Congress want to protect their constituents or agribusiness," said Slaughter. "I do believe the chance are good, at least getting it through the House."
The bill has been introduced several times since the 1980s but has been blocked by agribusiness interests. Read More
As with most stories concerning antibiotics and livestock, the players are always described as evil agribusiness versus the unsuspecting public. There are no big secrets being hidden from anybody in this discussion. Antibiotics are a very effective tool for keeping livestock healthy. Even the CDC has said there is no evidence to suggest that the livestock industry is responsible for any problems nor would it solve anything if antibiotics weren’t used anymore. Livestock producers always want their livestock to be as healthy as possible. Just like parents hate seeing their kids being sick, the same goes for our animals.