Antibiotics: for Us or for Animal Abuse?

U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) has reintroduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (“PAMTA,” or H.R. 1150) into the House of Representatives. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) intends to introduce a companion bill in the Senate.

At present, an estimated 80 percent of all antibiotics in this country are used “sub-therapeutically” to facilitate the keeping of farm animals in overcrowded, stressful and unsanitary conditions, and to artificially speed their growth. A direct consequence of this reckless misuse of critical medicines is that it provides the perfect conditions for dangerous bacteria to become resistant to multiple antibiotics—something we have already seen come to pass with deadly E. coli and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

The proposed legislation would make the feeding of antibiotics to animals for anything but welfare and disease control illegal, and help ensure that critical antibiotics retain their ability to save human lives.