The American Farm Bureau Federation is lobbying Congress to oppose legislation that will restrict the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry feeds.
In their letter the organisation stated “the Farm Bureau and its members use antibiotics carefully, judicially and according to label instructions to treat, prevent and control disease in their flocks and herds.” Although there is a case for Veterinarians to administer antibiotics applying appropriate professional and ethical considerations, there is little support in Congress to retain antibiotics to promote growth or for preventive purposes.
The statement continued, “further, data indicates development of antibiotic- resistant bacteria in animals is stable and food-borne bacterial resistance in humans is declining” according to the AFBF President Bob Stallman. These contentions can be challenged by extensive research relating to the epidemiology and mechanisms of drug resistance. The most fallacious comment in the submission is that “using antibiotics to keep animals healthy reduces the incidence of food-borne pathogens in meat.”
It is anticipated that the US will follow the EU and place additional restrictions on growth promoting antibiotics irrespective of scientific evidence, since consumer perception mitigates against continued use of these products.