Monday, August 17, 2009

Ag Organizations Tell Importance of Antibiotics

Animal ag groups write White House on importance of antibiotics

A coalition of 20 organizations related to animal agriculture sent a letter today to Melody Barnes, assistant to President Barack Obama for domestic policy, regarding the on-farm use of low-level antibiotics in livestock and poultry. The letter outlined the actions taken by our groups, both individually and collectively, to ensure these important, safe, effective Food & Drug Administration (FDA)-approved products are used judiciously, minimizing risk to human health.

The letter said, "The bottom line for on-farm antibiotic use is this: Farmers and ranchers strive daily to provide best possible management of their animals through superior genetics, nutrition, veterinary care, housing and handling. Optimal animal health and welfare leads to production of safe, affordable and abundant food, critical to U.S. food security. Maintaining the health of U.S. herds and flocks requires farmers and ranchers to have all approved safe and effective technologies, including animal health products, available to us."

The letter went on to say that despite the allegations surrounding these uses, "no conclusive scientific studies have been offered demonstrating the use of antibiotics on farms contributes significantly to an increase in human resistance. In fact, a growing body of evidence shows just the opposite, namely the responsible, professional use of these products reduces pathogens in and on foods, enhancing animal welfare while not contributing to resistance."

The letter was addressed to Barnes, but it also was transmitted to the offices of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), House Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg and FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein. Link

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