Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bill Banning Antibiotics (PAMTA) Introduced in Senate

The movement to ban the administering of antibiotics to our healthy farm animals gained even more steam last week when the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) was reintroduced in the Senate by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

The press release from Feinstein's office touches on what we've discussed before, (most recently when New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote about the issue):
"The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) addresses the rampant overuse of antibiotics in agriculture that creates drug-resistant bacteria, an increasing threat to human beings.

"The widespread practice of using antibiotics to promote livestock growth and compensate for unsanitary, crowded conditions has led to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria and other pathogens, rendering many powerful drugs ineffective."
While the bill has a long way to go before it becomes law, the fact that a bipartisan group of senators is supporting it shows the progress that has been made in publicizing the dangers associated with the antibiotics. It's a good bet that farm state senators will be against this legislation.

Similar to companion legislation in the House of Representatives introduced by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), PAMTA, according to the Feinstein press release, aims to:

"• Phase out the non-therapeutic use of medically important antibiotics in livestock;
• Require new applications for animal antibiotics to demonstrate the use of the antibiotic will not endanger public health;
• Not restrict the use of antibiotics to treat sick livestock or to treat pets.

"PAMTA will limit the agricultural use of seven types of antibiotics that have been identified by the Food and Drug Administration as critically important in human medicine to ensure that antibiotic-resistance is not inadvertently accelerated."

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