It is standard procedure for many large corporate U.S farms to feed antibiotics to perfectly healthy animals — pigs, chickens, cows — to make them grow faster and to save on feed costs. In a nation that used a total of 35 million pounds of antibiotics last year, 70 percent — 28 million pounds — were used on U.S. animals alone. Worldwide the use of antibiotics in animal feed is estimated to be about 50 percent. In contrast, animals raised in natural farm environments rarely require antibiotics.
Doctors and health activist have known for decades that the explosion of human drug-resistant infections that kill tens of thousands are linked to the massively abusive use of antibiotics that are needlessly given to animals. The antibiotic-resistant staph infection known as MRSA kills more Americans than AIDS, and is widespread in the U.S. pig herd.
In March, 2009, Rep. Louise Slaughter introduced the “Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act” (PAMTA) in the House of Representatives. This bill would ensure that we preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for the treatment of human diseases by restricting the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock. But Rep. Slaughter is waging war with the pharmaceutical industry who spend $135 million a year in lobbying dollars and another $70 million from agribusiness. Follow Rep. Louise Slaughter on Twitter, and please tell Congress and your Representatives you support this bill.
January 12th, 2010