October 19, 2018

AMA Wants to Ban Antibiotic Use for Animal Growth Promotion

The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a resolution this month that calls for its members to support the discontinuation of antibiotics in farm animals for growth promotion. This common practice has added to the problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

AntibioticsThe document states that the CDC estimates that at least 23,000 patients die from antibiotic-resistant infections every year. And since the relationship between antibiotic-resistant infections in people and antibiotic use in agriculture is well-documented, the AMA supports efforts to ban this use in food-producing animals. The document also states that medically-important antibiotics are used in agriculture for non-therapeutic reasons and that a “large and compelling body of scientific evidence” shows that antibiotic use in farm animals contributes to resistant bacteria.

The AMA also supports expansion of FDA surveillance and data collection of antibiotic use in farm animals. The organization supports antimicrobial stewardship programs overseen by veterinarians as an effective way to ensure that these drugs are used in appropriate ways.

Several cities have already passed resolutions to support Rep. Louise Slaughter’s (D-NY) PAMTA bill. That bill, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act” was introduced in 2013 to ban the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in food animals.

Food & Water Watch has documented the work of these city councils. On June 25, 2014, the city of Alexandria, Virginia joined eight other cities and passed a similar resolution calling for federal action to stop the misuse of antibiotics on factory farms. Other cities that have passed these resolutions include St Paul, MN; Seattle, WA; Cleveland, OH; Pittsburgh, PA, Madison, WI, Chicago, IL, and Carrboro, NC. That agency states, “the science is clear and the medical community is in agreement – unless we act soon to end the irresponsible use of antibiotics, they won’t work when we really need them.”

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