Skip to comments.Antibiotic ban on livestock may hurt U.S. food safety
Posted on 03/25/2009 9:32:50 AM PDT by Abathar
WASHINGTON (Reuters) A bill that would ban the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in animals would hurt the health of livestock and poultry while compromising efforts to protect the safety of the country's food supply, the leader of the largest U.S. farm group said on Tuesday.
Bob Stallman, president of the 6 million-member American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a letter to Congress that its members "carefully, judiciously and according to label instructions" use antibiotics to treat, prevent and control disease in animals.
"Antibiotic use in animals does not pose a serious public health threat," said Stallman, who urged lawmakers to oppose the bill. "Restricting access to these important tools will jeopardize animal health and compromise our ability to contribute to public health through food safety" he added.
Industry groups that oppose the ban contend animal deaths would go up, producer costs would rise, meat output would drop and consumers would see prices climb. They contend there is no evidence that a public health threat has occurred because of the use of antibiotics in animals.
Introduced in the House of Representatives by Louise Slaughter and in the Senate by Edward Kennedy, the legislation, would ban the use of antibiotics important to human health from being used on cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry unless animals are ill.
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This will be expensive for us all if it passes.
This is being considered because foreign countries like France will not take our meat if antibiotics are used. The widespread practice of using antibiotics also plays a role in the super bug problem where people are becoming resistant to antibiotics.
I already buy meat and poultry that has not been given or exposed to anti-biotics or hormones, and so far I have not been poisoned. This is a case of buyer beware. You need to know where what you eat is coming from, and you need to be able to trust those who supply it. All that notwithstanding, I suspect that once this rules goes into effect on a widespread basis, applying, of course to imports as well as domestic products, there will be some interesting stories on Discovery Health about mass poisonings.
I just don’t buy the industry’s line on this. Antibiotic over-use has become a serious health issue. We are continually exposed to all sorts of antibiotics in the foods we eat, then wonder why when we get sick - they don’t often work like they use to...
Finding meat that has not been given antibiotics is difficult around here.
I have an idea - how about mandatory labeling of meat from antibiotic exposed meat and that which is not. Then let consumers decide. What a concept.
Yes it has...take a sick kid to the doctor and you have to fight for antibiotics...kids are actually losing their hearing with untreated ear infections which are very painful. Yet, they put it in our food all the time.
It won’t be nearly as expensive as trying to stop antibiotic resistant bugs.
I’m a little irritated with the FDA approval of an ecoli vaccine for cattle too. It seems to reduce the urgency of sanitation and frankly I’d rather eat beef that was free of E coli because it was clean than eat filthy beef because it was vaccinated.
This is being considered because foreign countries like France will not take our meat if antibiotics are used. “”
FRance has absolutely no problem taking the horses that are shipped to Mexico for slaughter and then the meat is shipped to France!!! They certainly are not worried about the sanitary conditions of Mexico’s slaughter houses....(sarc).
Four kids in our family— I remember that NO antibiotics were given for ear problems. It is a part of the growing process. We got plain old Bayer aspirin.
We all grew out of the ‘infections’, and we all have good hearing today- all of us are over 60, and I was exposed for lengthy years to drag racing- with no ear protection.
Well my niece has a permanent hearing loss because of an untreated infection...the doctor would not give antibiotics... I say no antibiotics in meat.
Wow, I was looking for the article about the meat and found this instead. Anyone hear about bird flu hitting Texas...yikes!
My mistake, It was hormones not antibiotics that are the problem.
Like to sip a classic Italian mineral water with a pleasant bruschetta appetizer? Get ready to pay double for your drink. Big fan of the French cheese Roquefort? Its price increase will raise more of a stink than the famously pungent cheese.
Both items are caught in a long-running trade war between the United States and the European Union. The battle will intensify this month when a new round of U.S. tariffs land on a bevy of European gourmet foods, from truffles to certain kinds of chocolate bars.
The tariffs are payback for the European Union’s ban on imports of U.S. beef containing hormones, which Europeans say pose a potential health hazard. The World Trade Organization says the EU is free to make that claim, even though it hasn’t been scientifically proven.
Try a locally owned health-food store. And my Giant and Safeway sell chemical-free meat, poultry and dairy. But I get mine from a local I know and trust. I have even met a number of the producers. They run small farms and ranches. Some of the best lamb I ever bought was from some people in Iceland who were here promoting their chemical-free products in a local stores.
And I think you have hit the industry on the head with that one. Give the cattle an injection - or actually run clean processing plants.
I grew up on a cattle farm. The only time we used antibiotics as a prophylactic was when we neutered with a knife for some reason. Generally speaking we neutered with an elastic band so there was no open wound.
That said, our cattle had pasture to roam and graze, even the feeder cattle. The need for antibiotics could be attributed to feeding in confinement.
I’m far from an expert also, but I do raise animals for meat, and have never used hormones or anti biotics on them, and have yet to lose one.
The anti biotics have to be used when animals are crammed together, like the hog factories of the mid west and south.
Drive by a smithfield “farm” and breath in deep. See if you can keep from wretching.
Just my two cents, but get your meat from a small farmer via craigslist.
I kind of figured the feeder lots that are set up now must contribute to it.
Our neighbor has 25 cows on 1.5 acres, we have been yelling at the township to enforce the 2 cows per acre rule they have on the books, but so far they just ignore us.
My MIL raised miniature donkeys, miniature horses, and Alpacas. She had jugs full of amoxicillan and other antibiotics I can’t begin to pronounce or spell, by the thousands.
She would take those things like candy when she thinks she is getting sick.
(I have to admit, several years ago I had a sinus infection the doctor wrote me a script for 500mg 4 times a day. This was quite a few years ago before Walmarts gave them away for practically free so I used her 250mg instead of buying them, they worked just fine for me too)
I think it does. On the occasion we would buy feeder cattle from auction, they almost always arrived with snotty noses, the squirts, etc. Had to be from the confined proximity at the yard. Otherwise, we very, very rarely ever had an animal get sick. When we did bring auction cattle to the farm, we kept the quarantined for a few days to make sure they all were healthy.
If you watch cattle in the pasture too, they eat some weird stuff. Chewing bark off of trees, eating different weeds. I have to think some of that is instinctive self medication. Kind of like a cat eating grass so it can yack up the fur balls and bones.
My barber’s family raises cattle, he mentioned to me a while back that they had to stop letting septic cleaning companies spray it out on their fields. He was telling me that it contained tomato seeds, and that if the cows ate any tomato plants that germinated it would bloat their stomach and kill them.
I thought about it for a second and came to the conclusion that his cow eating a tomato plant was about the very last thing I would be concerned about with them doing that.