U.S. Congresswoman re-introduces bill to cut antibiotic use in livestock

March 19, 2013

The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, a U.S. bill first introduced in 2007 to limit the nontherapeutic uses of antibiotics in food animals, has been relaunched by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.). The new bill defines what is deemed nontherapeutic and would add cephalosporins to the types of antibiotics that would be restricted from nontherapeutic uses.

“Since 1977, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged the threat of antibiotic-resistant disease and called for a reduction in the use of antibiotics in animals, we have been waiting for meaningful action to protect public health,” said Slaughter. “Instead, we’ve gotten delays and half measures, and as a result, even common illnesses like strep throat could soon prove fatal. I’ve introduced this legislation because Congress must act immediately to protect the public health.”

Slaughter has introduced PAMTA four times since 2007. According the 2011 NARMS Retail Meat Survey, antibiotic resistance among cephalosporins found on chicken and turkey has increased by 23.5% and 14.1%, respectively. As a result, Slaughter has named cephalosporins as an 8th class of antibiotics that would be prohibited from non-therapeutic use on animals (previous versions of the legislation explicitly named seven classes). The new text also clarifies the term “non-therapeutic use” to ensure that any use of medically important antibiotics outside of treatment of a sick animal is not permitted.

Press release