Legislation to Restrict Antibiotic Use in Farm Animals Introduced in Senate

California Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act of 2013. The bill directs the Food and Drug Administration to prohibit the use of human antibiotics in the feed and water of healthy farm animals if they jeopardize human health. The measure also requires drug companies and agriculture producers to demonstrate that antibiotics are used to treat clinically diagnosable diseases. Feinstein says antibiotics are the closest thing to a silver bullet in human medicine given their ability to wipe out a wide variety of bacterial infections. But she argues we are in danger of losing this weapon in the fight against infectious diseases. According to Feinstein - the irresponsible use of antibiotics is dangerous. She says we must preserve these life-saving drugs by carefully restricting their overuse in ag products.

Feinstein's bill directs the Food and Drug Administration to prohibit the use of antibiotics in ways that accelerate antibiotic resistance; applies restrictions to only the limited number of antibiotics that are critical to human health; and preserves the ability of farmers to use all available antibiotics to treat sick animals.

The National Pork Producers Council has long stated the importance of having safe and effective animal health products available to maintain healthy and productive animals, prevent animal suffering and ensure consumers have access to safe and wholesome pork products. A section on antibiotics on the NPPC website notes the FDA must approve animal health drugs before they can be utilized. To win approval - a drug maker must demonstrate the product is effective and safe for the animal and safe for the environment. FDA also determines if new antibiotics for food animals are safe with regard to human health. NPPC points out that antibiotics are approved for treatment of illness, prevention of disease, control of disease and nutritional efficiency of animals- and according to the Animal Health Institute - just 13-percent of animal antibiotics are used for nutritional efficiency. NPPC says existing FDA regulations are increasingly strict and provide adequate safeguards against antibiotic resistance. In addition - the Take Care: Use Antibiotics Responsibly program demonstrates the pork industry's fullest intention to provide veterinarians and producers the principles and guidelines for judicious antibiotic use.

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