Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Antibiotics law, consumers shift livestock industry: California first in nation to require veterinarian oversight

In the wake of a local legislator’s years-long efforts to curb the proliferation of antibiotic resistant bacteria, California has become the first in the nation to enact strict regulations over how its livestock industry administers antibiotics. With the public tuning in and becoming more informed on how their food is produced, consumers are also causing a shift in the market as several major fast food chains recently announcing they’ll stop serving antibiotic-fed meat. State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, spent two sessions pushing bills to curb the overuse of antibiotics in California-raised livestock. For years, several interest groups and even Gov. Jerry Brown called for Hill to strengthen his proposal before they’d support his plan. A sticking point related to whether antibiotics can be used to treat animals that aren’t sick — ultimately, changing the bill to prevent regular and widespread use on healthy animals pushed it into law. As Brown signed Hill’s legislation into law this month, California will be the first in the nation to require strict veterinary oversight of antibiotics in livestock and forbid the pharmaceuticals from being used to promote growth beginning January 2018. With 70 percent of the nation’s supply used on animals and 97 percent of that obtained over the counter, Hill said having medical professionals oversee the administration of antibiotics will change industry practices for the better. Hill said he was prompted to act by fear of a return to the days before live-saving discoveries like penicillin were made. According to the Centers for Disease Control, antibiotic-resistant bacteria is responsible for killing nearly 23,000 Americans a year and sickening another 2 million. “People are becoming conscious and aware of the problem as more publicity occurs and I think they know we need to change our behavior,” Hill said...more

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