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Update: Seattle, Cleveland, Pittsburgh Pass Resolutions Against Non-Therapeutic Use of Antibiotics in Livestock

Following the Cleveland (OH) City Council’s action on March 17, the Pittsburgh (PA) City Council on March 25 passed a resolution calling for a nationwide ban on the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock production.

Providence, RI, approved a similar resolution in February, and the Seattle (WA) City Council unanimously adopted Resolution 31514 on April 7.

According to the Pittsburgh City Paper, council members there were “among the first in the country” to pass such a resolution, which was requested by Food & Water Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based consumer rights group that has been active in trying to pass related measures in Congress.

FWW’s Alison Auciello said in a statement, “Factory farms feed low doses of antibiotics to livestock to promote unnatural growth and to compensate for filthy, crowded living conditions. As a result, we’re entering an age in which these life-saving medicines are no longer working to treat infections in humans. In a recent report, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that over two million people per year suffer from antibiotic-resistant infections, and at least 23,000 people die from them.”

The national bills are Protection of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) in the U.S. House and the Prevention of Antibiotic Resistance Act (PARA) in the U.S. Senate.

Opponents of legislation to ban or restrict non-therapeutic uses of antibiotics in livestock say that antibiotics are a useful tool for keeping livestock healthy and that there is little to no evidence that restricting or eliminating their use in food-producing animals would improve human health.

According to the Animal Health Institute, whose members are mainly pharmaceutical companies, the government approval process for animal drugs is already stricter than it is for human drugs.

In Seattle, Resolution 31514 supports a statewide and national ban on non-therapeutic uses of antibiotics in livestock and “strongly urges” passage of House Bill 1150 (PAMTA) and Senate Bill 1256 (PARA). Resolution 31514 is scheduled to come before the Seattle City Council for a vote on Monday, April 7.

Meanwhile, at the University of Washington Medical Center’s Food and Nutrition program, officials recently announced that they are amending policy to state that all pork and poultry products served at UWMC will be completely antibiotic-free.

© Food Safety News
  • foodinspctorben

    I findit quite interesting that cities where no substantial or measureable amount of
    livestock production is centered. Yet these large populations, who consume the
    meat and other agricultural products, seem to think that they know more about
    what and how animals or crops should be raised and taken care of than the individual
    people that feed and provide care for them every day. This is most prevalent with the fact of over
    95% of the general population in this country doesn’t know what it takes to
    grow, produce manufacture, process, distribute these products to the final
    consumer. I am not a lawyer so I don’t dispute cases in a courtroom; I am not a police officer so I don’t arrest criminals; but I am a person who is educated enough to read facts based with scienceand make decisions in food production and regulation. I believe that any and all rules and
    regulations should not be led by a mass mob of undereducated and misinformed
    individuals of how our food supply should be raised and produced.

    In the U.S we have the safest food supplies in the world this did not just happen by accident
    or not by using the available technologies, medical advancement, and fact based
    peer reviewed research to solve issues within production aspects. This is an
    otherwise longwinded way to say if you don’t know all what it takes to grow,
    care for, produce, process or otherwise create the foods that people consume. You
    shouldn’t go around telling others that have spent the lives learning,
    producing researching, or actually producing the foods how to do it; I don’t tell
    an engineer how to design and build a bridge I trust in the fact they know what
    they are doing so I can travel across it safely and get to my destination.

    • Michael Bulger

      These resolutions are in concert with the vast majority of professional health organizations. Leading organizations such as the U.N.’s World Health Organization, the FDA, CDC, and APHA, have all called for more judicious use of antibiotics in agriculture.

      These cities have been able to take a stand precisely because they are not centers for industrial livestock agriculture. What I mean is that the industry groups that are beholden to the status quo is not able to exert as much political influence on these cities. Far from this being policy led by a misinformed mob, this represents peoples heeding scientific recommendations with the liberty afforded to them by a relative economic independence.

    • Dan Sullivan

      Pittsburgh draws drinking water from the Allegheny and the Monongahela, both of which are downstream from a good bit of farmland. My first wife’s family raised cattle and chickens (both completely free-ranging) upstream of the city’s water treatment plants. There basins above Pittsburgh’s water intakes are quite large and hold a lot of farmland. Thus it is simply false that Pittsburgh has no stake in this question.

      I would like to see this followed up by a decision by the school district to purchase cafeteria meats only from places that do not use antibiotics as growth stimulants, or that they at least give preferential treatment to places that forgo this practice. Fortunately, we still have a fair number of small farmers in western Pennsylvania who do not have to resort to corporate agribusiness practices.