by Andrew Ranallo | Septmber 9, 2009 • Numerous agriculture and family farm organizations have issued a letter to President Barack Obama and Senate leaders urging support for the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) S. 619, in an effort to reduce the widespread overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
More than 70 percent of all antibiotics in the U.S. are added to animal feed to promote growth and manage stresses of animals in confinement housing. While PAMTA would still allow farmers to treat sick animals with antibiotics, it would withdraw the approval of seven specific classes of medically important antibiotics for non-therapeutic feed additive use. Under the bill, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would review each antibiotic to determine if there is a reasonable certainty of no harm to public health.
|Think Forward is a blog written by staff of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy covering sustainability as it intersects with food, rural development, international trade, the environment and public health. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy.|
According to the letter: “In supporting a restriction on non-therapeutic use of antibiotics, the FDA is joining a broad consensus of physicians, scientists and other governments that have taken the same position. The American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science have all called for restrictions on the use of antibiotics for non-therapeutic purposes in food animals. And in 2006, on recommendation from the WHO, the European Union banned non-therapeutic antibiotic use in food animals.”
IATP President Jim Harkness said in our press release, “The FDA believes we should act. We have thousands of farmers around the country who are already raising livestock without antibiotics. Now, it’s time for Congress to act.”
For more on how the overuse of antibiotics in raising food animals effects public health, check out the Keep Antibiotics Working Web site.