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Animal Antibiotics Legislation Coming

Slaughter plans to introduce bill again.

Published on: Mar 1, 2011

Representative Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., says she will once again introduce legislation intended to reduce the use of animal antibiotics in healthy animals. Slaughter says four out of five antibiotics sold in this country were for use on animals, many of whom are not even sick. Slaughter cited figures from the Food and Drug Administration indicating that 13.1 million kilograms of antibacterial drugs were sold for animal use in 2009. Only 3.3 million kilograms were sold that year for human use.

In a statement the National Pork Producers Council said that nearly 39% of the antibiotics sold for use in farm animals consisted of ionophores, compounds that aren't used in human medicine. Dr. Howard Hill, a veterinarian and member of the NPPC board of directors says the FDA report does not show that livestock producers overuse antibiotics, and it doesn't show they are being irresponsible.

"Several groups continue to peddle junk science on the percentage of antibiotics used for 'non-therapeutic' reasons, which include prevention and control of diseases, and to make comparisons of antibiotics used in food animals with those used in humans," Hill said.