There’s an op-ed in the most recent Sunday Times by Nicholas D. Kristoff about pathogens in pork.  The problem as discussed here is that nontherapeutic doses of antibiotics appear to be contributing to a rise in antibiotic resistant pathogens affecting humans.  As reported in the article, more than half of all antiobiotics used in the US are fed to animals without diseases.

Having attended a land grant university with a vet school, this article led me to think about what the veterinarians are doing and saying about all this.  The American Veterinary Medical Association has come out against legislation on the matter. They summarize recently proposed legislation as follows:

Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act: The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to purportedly preserve the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics used in the treatment of human and animal disease. The stated purpose of the bills “is to preserve the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics used in the treatment of human and animal diseases by phasing out use of certain antibiotics for nontherapeutic purposes in food-producing animals.”

There’s a need for considering the vet’s positions and involving them in discussions here because their buy-in will be important should things change. It is they who are and will be on the front lines on these matters. Some reading indicates that these veterinarians hone in on the benefits of antibiotics fed to animals that are well: they gain weight better, stay healthier, etc., according to their thinking. Clearly there needs to be a meeting of the minds on all this, with the veterinarians and the infectious disease specialists sitting down together. It will also be useful to closely examine the veterinary and other research on these issues, including looking at funding sources and the like.


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