pigs would be hurt by antibiotics ban: N.P.P.C.
Source of Article: http://www.meatnews.com/news/headline_stories.asp?ArticleID=100910
(MEATPOULTRY.com, March 18, 2009)
by Bryan Salvage
WASHINGTON — Legislation
introduced March 17 in Congress that is sponsored by Rep. Louise Slaughter of
New York would be detrimental to the health and well-being of pigs, increase
pork producers’ production costs and the price consumers pay for pork — and
it could also jeopardize public health, according to the National Pork Producers
Chairwoman of the House
Rules Committee and a microbiologist, Congresswoman Slaughter introduced the
"Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act" in the
House of Representatives. This legislation is designed to ensure that the
U.S. preserves the effectiveness of antibiotics for the treatment of human
diseases, according to Ms. Slaughter
Estimates by the Union of
Concerned Scientists state that 50 million lbs. of antibiotics — nearly 70%
of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. — have been used in food animals for
purposes other than treating disease since P.A.M.T.A. was last introduced two
years ago, Ms. Slaughter said.
"The practice of
over-using antibiotics in animal feed is certainly contributing to the rise
of antibiotic-resistant bacteria," she added. "This legislation
will play a critical role in protecting the integrity of our antibiotics and
the health of all Americans."
The proposed bill would:
- Phase out the non-therapeutic
use in livestock of medically-important antibiotics
- Require this same tough
standard of new applications for approval of animal antibiotics
- Does not restrict use of
antibiotics to treat sick animals or to treat pets and other animals not
used for food
"This is irresponsible legislation," said Don Butler, N.P.P.C.
president. "We are committed to maintaining the well-being of our
animals, and we need access to a range of animal health products to keep our
pigs healthy and, in turn, produce safe food products. This bill will prevent
that, and we’ll see more pigs die and higher production costs — and that
means consumers will pay more for pork."
When pigs have been sick during their life, they will have a greater presence
of food-safety pathogens on their carcasses, according to an Iowa State
University study conducted by Dr. Scott Hurd. And a 1999 ban in Denmark on
some antibiotics used in pork production has resulted in an increase in
piglet deaths and in the amount of antibiotics used to treat diseases.
The Slaughter bill, which ostensibly would prohibit the use of antibiotics
that promote growth in livestock but which also would ban ones that prevent
and control disease, was introduced to address the increase in
antibiotic-resistant bacteria, N.P.P.C. said. According to a 2000 survey of
human-health experts, however, 96% of antibiotic resistance in humans is due
to human use of antibiotics. And according to the Animal Health Institute,
less than 5% of animal antibiotics are used for nutritional efficiency —
which promotes growth — and even the majority of those prevent diseases.
"Pork producers, under the direction of a veterinarian, have a moral
obligation to use antibiotics responsibly to protect human health and provide
safe food," said Dr. Jennifer Greiner, D.V.M., N.P.P.C. director of
science and technology. "Producers also have an ethical obligation to
maintain the health of their pigs, and antibiotics are an important tool to
help us do that."
The U.S. pork industry has programs — the Pork Quality Assurance Plus and the
Take Care: Use Antibiotics Responsibly programs — that include principles and
guidelines on antibiotic use that help protect animal and public health and
animal well-being, N.P.P.C. concluded.
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