Lawmakers Move to Limit Antibiotic Use

Measures introduced in both the House and Senate would phase out non-therapeutic use of antibiotics within two years.

The Keep Antibiotics Working Coalition praised a new measure that would phase out non-therapeutic antibiotic use by livestock and poultry producers. The bill, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass; Olympia Snowe, R-Maine; and in the House by Louise Slaughter, D, N.Y.; would bring an end to use of antibiotics as animal feed additives within two years.

The coalition claims the use of antibiotics also used to treat humans can spur the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can be transferred to humans. The bill would also require pharmaceutical companies making agricultural antibiotics to submit data on the quantity of drugs they sell, along with information on the claimed purpose and the dosage form of those drugs.

The group claims farmers will still have options including other antibiotics not used in human medicine as well as "improved animal husbandry practices such as those utilized in Europe and on some U.S. farms." The bills also authorize funds to farmers to help defray the costs of phasing out non-therapeutic use of medically important antibiotics, and provides for research and demonstration projects to assist farmers in the transition.

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