Wed March 18, 2009
Slaughter Proposes Bill to Limit Antibiotics in Animal Feed
By Mark Scott
Buffalo, NY – Congresswoman Louise Slaughter introduced legislation Tuesday that would limit the use of antibiotics in livestock feed.
Antibiotics have been used for many years to promote livestock growth. But Slaughter says the practice has led to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria and other germs.
Slaughter says 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States are used in animal feed. She says more and more bacterial infections in humans are now resistant to the drugs commonly used to treat them, resulting in longer hospitalizations and increased healthcare costs.
Joining Slaughter during a tele-conference announcing the bill was Tufts University Professor Stuart Levy -- an expert in drug resistance. Levy says the misuse of the antibiotics in farm animals also has an environmental impact.
Slaughter has introduced the bill in the past, only to see it fail. She says she's more optimistic this time but admits there will likely be some resistance.
The agriculture industry responds if the bill goes passes, livestock deaths would go up, meat output would drop and consumers would see prices climb. A spokesman added that there is no proof that the use of antibiotics in livestock has anything to do with the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
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