Thursday, March 07, 2013
Farm Bureau shares with congressional
staff that antibiotics remain important for animal and public
Your American Farm
Bureau Federation and other members of the Coalition for Animal
Health hosted an educational briefing for congressional staff on
meat production, public health and the importance of antibiotics.
The briefing focused on helping legislators understand how and why
farmers use antibiotics.
The risk to humans is negligible due to on-farm antibiotic use,
said Dr. Scott Hurd, a veterinarian and epidemiologist at Iowa
State University. He cited numerous peer-reviewed scientific
assessments that have failed to demonstrate any detectable risk for
treatment failure in humans caused by on-farm antibiotic use in
Failure to prevent or treat illness causes unnecessary animal
suffering and death, Hurd pointed out. Further, he explained,
animals with residual effects of illness are more likely to cause
human foodborne disease.
"Every farm with animals is both a maternity hospital and a day
care," said Hurd. "Animals need medicines at times, just like kids
do. This becomes a moral and ethical issue…at what point will we
deny treatment? It's not right to withhold veterinary care for
Antibiotics for animals are needed because illnesses can move
quickly through populations and livestock cannot "stay home" when
they are sick.
Farmers and veterinarians are working together to manage
potential hazards, with the goal of producing a safe and wholesome
food supply, protecting public health and preserving antibiotics
for use by future generations.
"It's a long way from farm to harm," Hurd said.
Commenting on several bacteria of concern to the Infectious
Disease Society, Hurd said most, including Staphyloccous
infections (MRSA), Streptococcus pneumoniae and
drug-resistant tuberculosis, are not foodborne infections or
related in any way to food-producing animals.
Illinois Farm Bureau offers facts additional facts on antibiotic
Get to know your grassroots organization. Check out
farmer-created IFB Policy #54. Animal Health and
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