To the Editor:
Re “Antibiotic Runoff” (editorial, Sept. 18):
As a microbiologist, I know that study after study has highlighted the human health threat from using antibiotics as feed additives for hogs, chickens and cattle, creating super-bugs—bacteria that no longer can be treated with antibiotics. While some chicken producers and poultry purchasers have taken steps to reduce antibiotic use, the hog industry remains largely resistant to change.
To address this problem, I have introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (H.R. 962), which would phase out antibiotics use in livestock for growth or preventative purposes unless manufacturers could prove that such uses don’t endanger public health. It also provides money to help farmers adopt alternative approaches to preventing illness among their herds, like cleaner housing and natural supplements.
The American Medical Association, the Infectious Disease Society of America and the American Academy of Pediatrics are among the more than 350 health, agriculture and other groups nationwide that have endorsed this bill. To preserve the effectiveness of our antibiotics, all meat producers need to back away from the overuse of drugs.
Louise M. Slaughter
Member of Congress, 28th District, New York
Washington, Sept. 20, 2007