Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Farmers, ranchers won't fight Antibiotic Rule

Farmers and meat-industry officials said they embrace the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's effort to limit the use of antibiotics in animals raised for meat even as they don't see it changing much about how livestock are raised in the U.S. The FDA's policy, unveiled on Wednesday, seeks to phase out farmers' and ranchers' use of antibiotics to promote the growth of chickens, cattle and pigs. The decades-long use of the drugs on farms is widely believed to have contributed to a proliferation of drug-resistant bacteria that endanger human health. The rules would compel the industry to use antibiotics only when medically necessary, making it effectively unlawful to use them to make animals larger. Many in the industry say they are cautious, providing the medicines only as a measure to prevent or treat illness and so don't see widespread impact. Critics say the rules don't go far enough because they would still let farmers and ranchers use the drugs in feed and water as a preventative step. A more effective policy, they insist, would be to bar their use except when treating sick animals. The new rules require that licensed veterinarians oversee farmers' antibiotics use. In one sign that little may change, Eli Lilly & Co. and Zoetis Inc., two of the biggest manufacturers of animal antibiotics said they expected little impact on sales from the FDA's decision. The American Meat Institute, a trade group representing meatpackers such as Cargill Inc. and Tyson Foods Inc., said it welcomed the FDA's guidance and "supports the prudent and judicious use of antibiotics in food animal production under the care of a veterinarian."...more

No comments: