March 24, 2018

Rep. Slaughter Urges President to Discuss Antibiotic Resistance at G8 Summit

Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) sent a letter to President Obama yesterday urging him to discuss the issue of antibiotic resistance at this week’s Group of Eight (G8) summit in Northern Ireland. Britain’s science minister David Willetts recently proposed measures that will clamp down on overuse of antibiotics in human medicine and will try to restrict usage on farms and fisheries.

Petri DishRep. Slaughter authored the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) which would prohibit the use of eight critical classes of antibiotics on healthy food animals. Farmers often give animals non therapeutic doses of these drugs to promote weight growth and to prevent disease in poor growing conditions.

In her letter, Slaughter said, “this is an issue of grave concern to me given my background in microbiology and public health, and it ought to be of concern to all of use who bear the responsibility for protecting the public. We are frittering away one of the greatest medical advancements of all time – the development of the antibiotic – by allowing its overuse on farms with otherwise healthy animals.” A recentĀ report from the National Academy of Sciences said that “a decrease in antimicrobial use in human medicine alone with have little effect on the current situation. Substantial efforts must be made to decrease inappropriate overuse in animals and agriculture as well.”

The Congresswoman also said that other countries are addressing this problem more fully and that American may be at a disadvantage in the future if farmers continue to give animals unnecessary drugs. Trade barriers may arise with countries that do not permit this practice, as they have in the issue about genetically modified grains.

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