Wednesday, June 3, 2009

CA's Antibiotic Limiting Bill

Antibiotics bill takes the next step
By Dairy Herd staff Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Legislation that would limit the use of antibiotics by licensed veterinarians to prevent and control disease in animal agriculture was approved last week in California by the Senate Appropriations Committee and now goes to the Senate floor for consideration.

Bill SB416, amended earlier this month by the Senate Education Committee, would require school districts to make every effort to purchase poultry and meat products that have not been treated with non-therapeutic antibiotics.

Any school district that purchases poultry or meat products from treated animals (or doesn’t know the status of the products) would be required to report annually to the Superintendent of Public Instruction the reasons those products were purchased. The bill would require the Superintendent to compile those reports and report to Legislature starting Jan. 1, 2012.

The original bill prohibited schools from serving poultry or meat products from animals that had been treated with antibiotics at any time during the life of the animal.

In addition, this bill would prohibit a person from using antibiotics for non-therapeutic use in any animal raised for the production of any human food product as of Jan. 1, 2015.

State Senator Dean Florez, chairman of the Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture, introduced this legislation.

Western United Dairymen opposes the bill, along with the Alliance of Western Milk Producers, California Dairies Inc., California Farm Bureau Federation, California Poultry Federation, California School Nutrition Association, and the California Teamsters.

Read the entire bill SB416. Article Link

I would argue that the levels of antibiotics used in animal feed currently are therapeutic. After all, the levels used are helping prevent the possibility of an animal catching a disease. There is also plenty of evidence to suggest that a ban on the current practice of using feed-based antibiotics will actually increase the usage. In addition to this, the cost for these meat products will also increase. The only message that can be heard from legislation like this is that the state of California no longer welcomes animal agriculture because sound science doesn’t agree. Judging by the state of their budget, increasing costs based on emotional thinking is the last thing they need.

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