Monday, June 6, 2011

How Big is that Pig - stopping human antibiotic use in animals

Last week the NRDC filed suit (along with some other groups including the Union of Concerned Scientists) to force the FDA to do its job.

(which according to its website is to :

protect the public health by assuring that foods are safe, wholesome, sanitary and properly labeled; human and veterinary drugs, and vaccines and other biological products and medical devices intended for human use are safe and effective

Even though the FDA has known for decades that giving human antibiotics to healthy animals can create monster bacteria that threaten human health they have done nothing.


Antibiotics are obviously a good thing and have saved us from diseases that were once death sentence. But now, multi-drug resistant infections are on the rise at the same time the development of new antibiotics, due to cost constraints, are at an all-time low.

70% of all antibiotics in the U.S. are being wasted on healthy cows, pigs and chickens for things like growth promotion (!) creating drug-resistant superbugs that put everyone at risk.

We all know by now not to take and not to give our children unnecessary antibiotics and our doctors carefully weigh their options before prescribing them to us, but The National Academy of Sciences has stated:

"a decrease in the inappropriate use of antimicrobials in human medicine alone is not enough. Substantial efforts must be made to decrease inappropriate overuse of antimicrobials in animals and agriculture as well."

All 27 member states of the European Union have banned the use of important human antibiotics for growth promotion in animals. Hundreds of the world's leading consumer and public health agencies have demanded this practice come to an end.

Here is the petition we can sign to ask FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to ban the use of antibiotics in healthy animals. I can't believe after so many years we are still talking about this issue and nothing has been done- hopefully this lawsuit will have some real teeth in it.


Paula said...

Try not eating animals. Olive would agree.

Catherine Ivins said...

That would be the ideal solution Paula (not sure about Olive though she loves her chicken and rice!)

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the reminder. It's one of the reasons I don't eat meat. And that I grow a very healthy and large garden in the summer (food to last through at least part of the winter). But there are so many medical issues, growth problems, and more with children these days, and way too many of these stem from the antibiotics, hormones, and other things used to grow animals faster and bigger. It's sad, and too many of our poorer population (I live in a very rural and poor county) don't understand it. I hope it gets dealt with sooner than later.

Catherine Ivins said...

that's great Rebecca- we had a large garden last year, but made alot of mistakes with what we grew and ended up giving away about half of what we grew- we also had alot of problems with animals getting in it- this year we are determined to do better with it...