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End the Use of Nontherapeutic Antibiotics by Livestock Producers

End the Use of Nontherapeutic Antibiotics by Livestock Producers

Name: Prohibiting Routine Use of Antibotics in Food Prodcing Animals

More than 99% of food-producing animals in the United States are raised in overcrowded and unsanitary industrial facilities that regularly administer antibiotics for nontherapeutic purposes. Antibiotics are used in this manner to prevent the spreading of disease between animals, as well as to promote increased growth and production. Scientific studies have shown that the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture has led to an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans.

Learn more about the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture.


Call to Actions:

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Put an End to the Overuse of Antibiotics by the Livestock Industry

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask you to introduce legislation that would preserve the effectiveness of medically-important antibiotics used for the treatment of human and animal diseases. Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated the growing ineffectiveness of antibiotic medications used in the treatment of human infections.

This ineffectiveness is in large part attributed to the overuse of antibiotics for non-therapeutic purposes in food-producing animals, and this overuse has contributed to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or "super bugs," that threaten to undo advancements in modern medicine by rendering human infections commonly treated by antibiotics untreatable.

Livestock producers use these antibiotics to prevent the spread of disease from animals kept in unsanitary and overcrowded concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). They are also used to promote increased growth and production. The cost to the public is great, from both an animal welfare and human health perspectives.

I hope that you will consider taking a leadership role in ending the overuse of antibiotics by the livestock industry in our state. For your convenience, I've included language from a model law, below.

Model Law for Prohibiting the Non-Therapeutic Use of Medically-Important Antimicrobial Drugs to Livestock

Sec. 1. Rational

The routine use of medically-important drugs in livestock has contributed to a significant risk to human health. Each year more than two-million people in the United States become seriously infected by bacteria that are resistant to one or more of the antibiotics that are regularly used to treat similar infections. More than 23,000 people die each year as a result of antibiotic-resistant infections. Urgent action is necessary in order to control the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria. In addition to human health concerns, the welfare of billions of animals is at stake. The use of antibiotics in livestock is used to prevent the rampant spread of disease in concentrated animal feeding operations where animals are kept in filthy and unventilated facilities.

Sec. 2. Definitions:

(a) Medically-Important Antimicrobial Drug: Any drug used on humans or intended for use on humans to treat or prevent disease or infection.

(b) Livestock: All animals and poultry, including aquatic and amphibian species that are raised, kept or used for profit. Livestock does not include bees or those species that are usually kept as pets, such as dogs, cats, and pet birds

(c) Veterinary Feed Directive: A written statement issued by a licensed veterinarian in the course of the veterinarian's professional practice.

Sec. 3. Permitted Use of Medically-Important Antimicrobial Drugs

(a) A medically-important antimicrobial drug shall not be administered to livestock unless ordered by a licensed veterinarian through a prescription or veterinary feed directive, pursuant to a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

(b) A medically-important antimicrobial drug may be used when, in the professional judgment of a licensed veterinarian, the medically important antimicrobial drug is:
(1) Necessary to treat a specific disease or infection or
(2) Necessary in relation to surgery or a medical procedure.

(c) A medically-important antimicrobial drug shall be administered to the fewest number of livestock for the shortest duration necessary to prevent transmission of the disease or infection.

(d) The veterinarian who determines that the administration of a medically-important antibiotic to livestock is necessary shall specify an end date for the provision of the antibiotic to the animal.

(e) A person shall not administer a medically-important antimicrobial drug to livestock solely for purposes of promoting weight gain, improving feed efficiency or conducting routine disease prevention.

Sec. 4. Penalties

(a) A person who violates this chapter shall be liable on first offense for a civil penalty of not more than two-hundred and fifty dollars ($250) for each day a violation occurs.

(b) For a second or subsequent violation, a person who violates this chapter shall be liable for a civil penalty of not more than five-hundred dollars ($500) for each day a violation occurs.

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