Oct 29, 2013

Report puts pressure on animal agriculture and Congress to do something about issue of antibiotics

The federal Centers for Disease Control reported last month that 23,000 people die each year from antibiotic-resistant infections, but Congress continues to kill "every effort to restrict the feeding of farm animals the same antibiotics used in human medicine, even as antibiotics have grown less effective in treating infection," Melinda Henneberger reports for The Washington Post. "And regulation has gotten weaker under the Obama administration." (Graphic by Antimicrobial Resistance Learning Site)
Henneberger writes about a report by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Its director, Bob Martin, said studies "show that as much as 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in this country are fed to food animals," Henneberger writes. "The more a particular germ is exposed to antibiotics, the more rapidly it can develop resistance. Most scientists agree that over-prescribing the drugs to humans is the predominant cause for bacteria evolving to outsmart them. Feeding the drugs widely to control and prevent disease in cows, pigs and chickens also is believed to play a role."

Shelly Burgess, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, told the Post in an email that their plan to address the issue "is to phase out the use of medically important antibiotics in food animals for growth promotion and feed efficiency. FDA believes these drugs should be used only in situations where they are necessary for treating, controlling or preventing a specifically identified disease—and only under the oversight of a veterinarian." (Read more)
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