Do You Support the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009?

| 8/3/2009 1:43:50 PM

Tags: question to readers, industrial agriculture, food and agricultural policy,

Antibiotic Resistance

For decades, we’ve relied on antibiotics to treat infection. In a scary turn of events, however, we’re finding that when used improperly, these drugs are ineffective or can even worsen the problem by creating “superbugs” — bacteria that have become antibiotic-resistant. 

Probably the most egregious example of improper antibiotic use comes from the livestock industry. Some 70 percent of total antibiotic use occurs in the livestock industry to speed growth and ward off disease, and some in the medical community are warning that we’re headed for disaster. Antibiotics are routinely used whether the animals are sick or not — breaking the first and most important rule of protecting antibiotic efficacy. 

Enter Rep. Louise Slaughter’s H.R. 1549/S.619: The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009. The bill is designed to prevent the agricultural use of antibiotics important to human health unless the animals are sick. 

Livestock organizations such as the United States Cattlemen’s Association state that if passed, American producers could no longer compete with foreign markets and our meat would have to be imported. Opponents claim that at the very least, meat prices would skyrocket to offset the increased costs experienced by producers. 

Supporters of the bill maintain that antibiotic resistance adds millions to healthcare costs — $4 to $5 billion per year, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. The group also states that 300,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths are caused by food contaminated by dangerous pathogens and bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli each year, and these bugs are becoming increasingly antibiotic-resistant. 

Laura _1
8/7/2009 12:40:17 PM

We need to change the way the industrial meat producers do business. Antibiotics are for sick people and sick animals not for routine use. Feeding them stuff their bodies weren't meant to have makes them weak then overcrowding in mass feedlots makes diseases spread easily. Let them live naturally until their last moments. Inspect the cattle before slaughter and treat any animals that are sick. Waiting for a few to recover before their slaughtering is safer than having contamination get in the meat supply.

8/6/2009 11:38:49 PM

I absolutely support the legislation to prevent the use of antibiotics routinely on farm animals. I personally am careful to avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics and do not care to ingest them in my food supply.

t brandt
8/6/2009 10:21:47 PM

BTW- to answer Holly's question: cattle are given estrogen as "growth hormone", but there's more natural estrogen in a serving of potatoes than in a serving of store-bought beef. People are fatter today because they eat more carbs. It's been shown that a hi protein/low carb diet gives better weight control than a calorie restriction/lo fat diet.

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