Coalition Urges Pelosi, Hoyer to Oppose Antibiotic Ban


The Coalition for Animal Health, which includes American Farm Bureau Federation and other organizations that represent veterinarians, farmers and ranchers, food and feed producers and animal medicine manufacturers, wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) asking that the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1549) not be added to bills now being considered on food safety and health care reform.

H.R. 1549 would ban from use in livestock and poultry animal health products that are used to prevent and control diseases. Farmers only would be allowed to use animal health products that treat diseases. The bill also would require all “critical antimicrobial animal drugs” to go through a second U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval process within two years of enactment of the legislation.

The legislation purports to address an increase in antibiotic-resistant illnesses in humans. But, the coalition pointed out, numerous risk assessments, including one conducted by FDA, have shown risk levels associated with antibiotic use in agriculture that are extremely low, and nationally recognized scientific studies have shown that the removal of important animal health products could increase food safety risks.

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