In 1977, Jimmy Carter was president.
Elvis Presley was still in the building. And the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration, or FDA, was rolling up its sleeves to start addressing the
problem of antibiotic overuse on industrial farms.Thirty-six
years later, President Barack Obama is settling into his second term, and the federal
government still has not curbed meat production practices that threaten the
effectiveness of lifesaving antibiotics. We cannot wait any longer.Here’s why it is so important: In human medicine,
antibiotics are given to people by prescription to treat infection. On farms,
however, meat and poultry producers routinely give antibiotics to healthy food
animals without veterinary oversight to make them grow faster and to compensate
for unsanitary and crowded conditions. These low doses of antibiotics kill weak
bacteria, leaving dangerous, antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” that threaten
human health. Since the 1970s, hundreds of scientific studies have found a link
between routine nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock and antibiotic-resistant infections
in people.Last year, the FDA finally resumed its
long-delayed effort to stop the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in food
animal production, but after more than 14 months, the guidelines remain in
draft form. We need them finalized now.Please
ask President Obama to take a stand against antibiotic overuse and finish the
job that FDA started 36 years ago.
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