Time to stop antibiotics abuse

January 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm Leave a comment

Kudos to the Raleigh News and Observer for noting that it’s time for Congress to regulate against the overuse of antibiotics in farm animals. Here’s an excerpt from their Sunday editorial entitled Drug Fiends:

“[Medical scientists] say that heavy reliance on antibiotics, especially in the mass production of farm animals, could result in those drugs losing their potency to combat infections among people.

“The Associated Press quoted Duke University’s Dr. Vance Fowler, an infectious disease specialist, on the threat from antibiotics overuse: ‘This is a living, breeathing problem; it’s the big bad wolf, and it’s knocking at our door.’ Precautions it seems, are much in order….

“Yet widespread use of the medicines has given rise to drug-resistant bacteria strains as the organisms adapt to their environment. Agricultural use accounts for 70 percent of the country’s antibiotic consumption, and drug-resistant germs that have evolved in response to the prevalence of antibiotics in all settings were blamed in 2008 for 65,000 deaths….

“Perhaps as the toll rises from infections that no medicine can halt, some of our food consumption habits might change for the better.

“But a surer path toward addressing this problem would be through regulation.  Antiobiotics should be available to treat animals that are sick, but the kind of dosing that’s routine on many farms could be limited or barred. Congress needs to pay close attention to this issue, lest the country slip into what the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Thomas Frieden, warns could become a ‘post-antibiotic era.'”

Read the whole editorial here.

Entry filed under: Commentary, Food Safety, Politics/ Policy, Sustainable Farming, Sustainable Food. Tags: , , , .

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