Bill Banning Antibiotics in Animals Passes Committee

Another law aimed at animal agriculture comes closer to reality.

A bill introduced in California that would ban antibiotics from meat and poultry in that state passed out of a Senate committee Tuesday by a vote of 3 to 1. The measure, written by Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, would phase out the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics in animals meant for human consumption. SB 416 would prohibit schools in California from serving meat or poultry treated with non-therapeutic antibiotics after Jan. 1, 2012. By 2015, the ban would apply to any animal raised for human consumption in the state.

"We tell people to take antibiotics only as prescribed for the very reason that they not develop resistance to these drugs they may need when they are truly sick," said Florez. "Then we feed those same antibiotics daily to the animals they will consume; it just doesn't make any sense to take this gamble with the long-term health of our communities."

Although Elanor Starmer, a research analyst for Food and Water Watch, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, says they want California to set an example for the nation, others are not supportive of the measure.

"What Senator Florez is trying to do is take away tools we use to keep animals healthy," said Noelle Cremers, director of natural resources and commodities for the California Farm Bureau. "We don't see that as being a good way to provide safe food for consumers."

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