October 19, 2018

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter Introduces Antibiotics Bill Again

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) has introduced the Prevention of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) into Congress for the fourth time. The legislation is designed to stop the overuse of antibiotics on the farm that is accelerating the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Two weeks ago, Dr. Tom Frieden of the CDC warned that “our strongest antibiotics don’t work and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections.”

AntibioticsSlaughter said, “since 1977, when the FDA acknowledged the threat of antibiotic-resistant disease and called for a reduction in the use of antibiotics in animals, we have been waiting for meaningful action to protect public health. Instead, we’ve gotten delays and half measures, and as a result, even common illnesses like strep throat could soon prove fatal. I’ve introduced this legislation because Congress must act immediately to protect the public health.”

PAMTA has been introduced four times since 2007. The bill was updated to include recently released studies, including the 2011 NARMS Retail Meat Survey. That study found that antibiotic resistance among Cephalosporins found on chicken and turkey has increased by 23.5% and 14.1% respectively. The new bill also clarifies the term “non-therapeutic use” to ensure that any use of medically important antibiotics outside of treatment for sick animals is not permitted. PAMTA is sponsored by 450 organizations, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, Food & Water Watch, Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Farmworker Justice.

The Humane Society of the United States, along with other animal protection groups, praised Rep. Slaughter’s work. Dr. Michael Blackwell, former deputy director for the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said, “we commend Representative Slaughter – the only microbiologist in Congress – for continuing to tackle the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture. Whenever antibiotics are used there is a chance that some exposed bacteria will develop resistance to the antibiotic, a resistance which can be passed to other bacteria. Efforts to reduce resistant infections must include changes in agricultural practices.”

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