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