The overuse of antibiotics fed to meat producing animals is a concern of science, Congress, and consumers; yet not a concern of the FDA. In 2008, the FDA reportedly fell to industry pressure and continued to allow mild doses of antibiotics to be fed to healthy meat producing animals. The possibility of antibiotic resistant Super Bugs is the worry of many.
Modern day farming has its disadvantages; one being the spread of bacteria in confined livestock feeding operations. Farmers/Ranchers claim mild doses of antibiotics added to meat producing animal feed aids in the production of healthy food. Recent science claims antibiotic use should be restricted for use in sick animals only. The FDA agreed with science, and then abruptly changed their mind. Congress initiated a bill to require the FDA to restrict the use of antibiotics in healthy animal feed; however the bill continues to stall. The game of politics continues to delay what some feel could seriously endanger all of us; pets and people.
“Penicillin, tetracycline and other antimicrobials that doctors prescribe for our strep throats are also used in factory farming. The drugs are mixed with animal feed at CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), where a crowded environment can lead to petri dish-like conditions for bacteria. Antibiotics also help animals grow faster. And as we learned in high-school science class from Mrs. Phelps, the more bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, the more resistant some of them (sometimes called “superbugs”) get.” http://www.minnpost.com/markneuzil/2009/03/30/7727/there_aint_no_bugs_in_me_anti-antibiotics_bill_irks_agribusiness
The April 2009 edition of Scientific American states “The security of our food supply is at risk in ways more noxious than anyone had feared.” This article continues…
“Modern factory farms keep so many animals in such a small space that the animals must be given low doses of antibiotics to shield them from the fetid conditions. The drug-resistant bacteria that emerge have now entered our food supply. The first study to investigate farm-bred MRSA in the U.S. amazingly, the Food and Drug Administration has shown little interest in testing the nation’s livestock for this disease recently found that 49 percent of pigs and 45 percent of pig workers in the survey harbored the bacteria. Unfortunately, these infections can spread. According to a report published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, MRSA from animals is now thought to be responsible for more than 20 percent of all human MRSA cases in the Netherlands.” http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=sick-farms-infected-food
Representative Louise M. Slaughter (D – N.Y.) introduced H.R. 962 in February of 2007; the bill was developed to limit the use of antibiotics in animal feed for healthy livestock. Two years later, the bill continues to stall in Congress. http://www.congress.org/congressorg/bill.xc?billnum=H.R.962&congress=110#summary
In April 2008, Scientific American reports a group of scientists, farmers, doctors and veterinarians urged the FDA to phase out the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics in farm animal production. The FDA agreed, announced it would ban the use of antibiotics except for medical purposes, and then five days before the ban would take effect reversed it’s position. “Although no official reason was given, the opposition of the powerful farm lobby is widely thought to have played a role.”
The overdose of antibiotics in animal feed, feed for healthy animals, is a concern for people and their pets. As Scientific American puts it “This is just one example of a food production system that protects a narrow set of interests over the nation’s public health.” The above link to Congress.org, is a direct connection to the bill (H.R. 962) that could force the FDA to act; enter your zip code in the search box on the page to contact your Representatives in Congress.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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