Stop the systematic abuse of antibiotics by factory farms

The Union of Concerned Scientists is lobbying for the passage of an agriculture bill that I’m very much in favor of. It’s called the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (H.R. 1549/S. 619), and, if enacted, it would curtail the frivolous, preemptive use of antibiotics by factory farms. Here’s some background from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Resistance to antibiotics is a growing public health crisis, afflicting hospital patients and seemingly healthy individuals alike. Doctors caution that these vital drugs should only be used when absolutely necessary, because resistance emerges when bacteria are constantly exposed to antibiotics. Yet roughly 70 percent of antibiotics used in the United States are added to the feed of livestock and poultry that are not sick. This reckless practice encourages the development of antibiotic-resistant diseases—such as food poisoning and post-operative blood infections—that affect humans.

This practice of doping up livestock with antibiotics, in hopes of preempting illness, has gone on way too long, and it’s about time we did something about it.

If you agree, click here, and you’ll be taken to form letter that you can customize and send on to your Senators and Representatives in Washington.

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13 Comments

  1. Me
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    The next time I get an ear infection, I’ll just eat more beef.

  2. Kim
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Yeah, have your kids suck on a piece of raw chicken when they get the sniffles.

  3. Peter Larson
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I would even argue against the overuse of antibiotics in humans. They are highly over prescribed, which is profitable for doctors and producers, but detrimental to their long term effectiveness and to overall human health.

  4. Edward
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    People like quick fixes.

  5. Edward
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    That don’t require much effort.

    If a doctor gives an antibiotic, and the patient feels better, he/she doesn’t have to figure out what was wrong in the first place.

    As for feed lots, it’s just math. Antibiotics makes them more efficient, with fewer people. Instead of hiring a team of large animal vets, they just need one illegal alien with a scoop.

  6. notoneofthecoolkids
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Here is a very detailed AP article about this very subject. It is from 12/29/2009, good solid article.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/W/WHEN_DRUGS_STOP_WORKING_THE_MEAT_WE_EAT?SITE=TXBEA&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

    I stopped eating pork years ago when my father, who was in agricultural sales, came back from visiting a mammoth factory hog farm and simply declared he would never eat pork again. He said it was one thing that each animal is caged and just shits and eats everyday…it’s another thing to realize see that they give them shots of antibiotics every day. That was in about 1982.

    This article supports my father’s 28 year old observations.

    I wonder if antibiotic filled manure used to fertilize crops (.. our veggies…the soil…water run off… ) can harm us too? or change eco -systems?

  7. Kelty
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the link, NOOTCK. I really enjoyed the article.

    Does anyone know where I could buy half of a well-raised cow?

  8. HauntedChickenCoop
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m an avid antibiotic user. That’s right, a USER. I’ve been using antibiotics on daily basis for the last six months and before that was clean for 4 years. Before THAT, I used antibiotics for the better part of nine years. But, I DO NOT want antibiotics in my poultry (I don’t eat beef & don’t know if they put antibiotics in beef). Some chicken chains (read: Perdue) have gone antibiotic free b/c they realized it wasn’t cost effective.

    I’d like to see more regulations about checking the chicken for diseases. Only medicating the chickens when they are sick. Chickens (even those born to die) have rights, too.

  9. Me
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    Kim, if i had kids, I would just take little rolled pieces of grain fed beef, and stick it in the kids’ ears at night so they sleep better. Eventually, the antibiotics would seep through to their brain, and they would be robotic and very strong children. Then, they would be great basketball players, and they would become stars and give me a new mansion for Christmas and run around on their wives/husbands and lose all their sponsors, and people would be sad, and they would be in magazines a lot.
    And I would still keep the new mansion.

  10. SST
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    My kid is 7 and she’s never had antibiotics. I think I had them last about a dozen years ago, when I had bronchitis. We make a conscious effort not to take them for just this reason. The more we use them, the less likely it is that they’ll work when we really need them. Unfortunately, however, everyone else’s behavior affects us. The bugs evolve to be stronger, until the point that existing antibiotics can’t hurt them. I would gladly sign this petition, but I’d like to see it extend beyond the use of antibiotics in meat production to encompass the over-prescription of antibiotics to human patients.

  11. Meta
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Wait, it gets worse.

    Eight years ago, federal officials were struggling to remove potentially deadly E. coli from hamburgers when an entrepreneurial company from South Dakota came up with a novel idea: injecting beef with ammonia…

    That’s right. Amonia.

    More:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/us/31meat.html?_r=1

  12. Steph's Dad
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Dingell sent me the following in response to my note:

    Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding H.R. 1549, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act. I appreciate hearing from you.

    As you may know, H.R. 1549 was introduced on March 17, 2009, by Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, of which I am Chairman Emeritus. If enacted, this legislation would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to deny an application for a new animal drug that is a critical antimicrobial animal drug unless the applicant demonstrates that there is a reasonable degree of certainty of no harm to human health due to the nontherapeutic use of the drug.

    Further, it would also require HHS to withdraw approval of nontherapeutic use of such drugs in food-producing animals within two years unless certain safety requirements are met, and would require the manufacturer of such a drug or an animal feed for food-producing animals containing such a drug to report sales information to the HHS. You may rest assured I will keep your comments in mind as this bill moves forward.

    Again, thank you for being in touch. For news on current federal legislative issues, please visit my website at http://www.house.gov/dingell; you can also sign up there to receive my e-newsletter. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me again if I may be of assistance with this or any other matter of concern.

    With every good wish,

    Sincerely yours,
    John D. Dingell
    Member of Congress

  13. Ed
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    So basically he just restates what the bill is about without saying whether or not he intends to support it.

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