Support the Antimicrobial Data Collection Act
Although decades of science clearly show that overusing antibiotics on industrial farms breeds drug-resistant bacteria that can infect us and make illnesses more difficult for doctors to treat, we need to know more about the scope of the problem.
Eighty percent of antibiotics sold in the United States are destined for food animal production. Often, these drugs are fed in low doses to livestock that are confined in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions on industrial farms, the perfect breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant bacteria and a serious threat to human health. Unfortunately, there is almost no publicly released data on how these antibiotics are being used for food animal production. This critical information is needed to better track antibiotic-resistant bacteria and determine whether policies to alleviate the problem are working.
Fortunately, legislation introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Susan Collins (R-ME) would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to publicly report more information on annual antibiotic sales for industrial farm animals. The bipartisan bill would also give the agency a mandate to finalize policies proposed more than a year ago to eliminate the use of antibiotics for growth-promotion purposes.
Please send a note to your senators and ask them to take a stand for public health and co-sponsor the Antimicrobial Data Collection Act.
Please Support The DATA Act
America's meat and poultry producers have a drug problem that is contributing to a public health crisis.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, reported that drugmakers sold about 30 million pounds of antibiotics in 2011 for food animal production, the highest amount ever recorded and staggering when compared to the 7.7 million pounds sold to treat sick people. This data is valuable, but we need better information to understand how antibiotic use for livestock contributes to the development of drug-resistant superbugs that can infect people.
Ask your representative to shine a light on antibiotic use for food animal production.
Right now, there is proposed legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would let people know much more about how antibiotics we need to get well are also misused on industrial farms. Introduced by Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the Delivering Antimicrobial Transparency in Animals Act (H.R. 820), or DATA Act, would require drug companies and food animal producers to let the FDA know in what animals antibiotics are being given and why.
Please take a moment to ask your representative to support the DATA Act. We have the right to know how our food is produced.
Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act
Most doctors commonly warn their patients never to take antibiotics if they are not actually sick. Yet that is exactly what is happening on industrial farms where food animals often are given antibiotics over long periods of time to speed growth and to compensate for unsanitary and crowded conditions. In fact, up to 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are given to healthy farm animals, not people.
As a result, new deadly strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria develop. These superbugs can spread in many ways, including in contaminated meat or produce, through contact with farm or food workers that handle dirty animals and meat, and in soil water that has been polluted by animal waste. Once the bacteria are loose in the environment, they can pass along resistance to other bacteria, creating a major health crisis.
Legislation exists in Congress that would address this problem. The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA, H.R. 1150) would withdraw the routine use of eight classes of antibiotics vitally important to human health from food animal production unless animals or herds are sick with disease or unless drug companies can prove that their use does not harm human health. Hundreds of groups already support this legislation including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatricians, Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American Nurses Association and the World Health Organization.
Now, we need your help. Please contact your members of Congress and ask them to cosponsor PAMTA.