California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed state Senate Bill 835 on animal antibiotics when it reached his desk Monday.
Brown said that the bill to ban the use of antibiotics for growth promotion and require a veterinarian prescription for a livestock antibiotic “would codify a voluntary Federal Drug Administration standard that phases-out antibiotic use for growth promotion.”
In his letter to members of the state Senate, he added that the step would be “unnecessary since most major animal producers have already pledged to go beyond the FDA standard.”
Wanting more done to understand and reduce reliance on antibiotics, the governor directed the Department of Food and Agriculture to work with the legislature “to find new and effective ways to reduce the unnecessary antibiotics used for livestock and poultry.”
Jonathan Kaplan, director of the Food and Agriculture program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), praised the veto.
“Clearly, the governor is not going to accept good intentions and fig leaf solutions to tackle this problem,” he said. “Instead, we need to lift the curtain of secrecy that now shrouds the industry’s use of these drugs and eliminate unnecessary antibiotic use so that these precious medicines keep working for people who need them.”
NRDC and other public interest groups such as the Consumers Union, Environmental Working Group and Sierra Club California opposed the measure because they said it would be unlikely to actually reduce antibiotic use in livestock, mirroring the ongoing debate surrounding FDA Guidance for Industry #213, which phases out the use of antibiotics to promote growth in food animals.© Food Safety News