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Farm Bureau opposed to antibiotic restrictions

Published May. 14, 2009 | Discuss this article on Facebook
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Buckeye Farm News 

Ohio Farm Bureau Federation has joined the American Farm Bureau Federation in expressing strong opposition to proposed legislation that would remove and restrict important antibiotics for veterinary and farm use.

Last month, OFBF sent each member of Ohio’s congressional delegation a letter outlining the reasons why legislation introduced in both the House (HR 1549) and Senate (S. 619) would be detrimental to both agricultural producers and the livestock they raise.

According to the letter, if passed, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (as the legislation is known) would remove important antibiotics and classes of antibiotics from the market, severely handicapping veterinarian and livestock and poultry producers’ ability to maintain animal health and protect the nation’s food supply.

“Antibiotics and other medicines are costly to producers because of the research, development and testing process they must undergo before being approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but are critically important to animal welfare and a key technology in the process of raising healthy animals,” the letter stated. “Ohio’s livestock and poultry producers use antibiotics carefully, judiciously, according to label instructions, and often in consultation with a veterinarian to prevent, treat, and control diseases within their animals.”

AFBF President Bob Stallman said more than 40 years of antibiotic use in farm animals proves that such use does not pose a public health threat. He added that “recent government data shows the potential that it might occur is declining.” Bacteria survival through food processing and handling is decreasing, food-borne illness is down, development of antibiotic resistant bacteria in animals is stable and resistant food-borne bacteria in humans is declining.

Stallman told members of Congress that by opposing the bills, they would “protect the professional judgment of veterinarians and livestock producers in providing safe and healthful meat products” for consumers.

“In order to raise healthy animals, we need tools to keep animals healthy,” said OFBF Senior Director of Legislative and Regulatory Policy Adam Sharp. “Restricting access to these important tools will jeopardize animal health and compromise our ability to contribute to public health through food safety.”

 



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