FDA Asks Big Pharma to Please Consider Reducing Routine Use of Antibiotics on Farm Animals

fda-antibiotics-agriculture.jpg.492x0_q85_crop-smartRead it for yourself, and decide if it’s as namby-pamby as we think it is.

The FDA has just released three documents calling on industry to voluntarily stop using antibiotics for non-therapeutic uses, as we expected they would last month:

  • a final guidance that recommends phasing out non-therapeutic uses of antibiotics;
  • a draft guidance that assists drug companies in voluntarily removing non-therapeutic use of antibiotics on their labels; and
  • a draft regulation outlining ways veterinarians can authorize the use of antibiotics in animal feed.

Note that last document: while any antibiotics whose manufacturers voluntarily change their labels to exclude non-therapeutic uses would no longer be available to farmers over the counter—a veterinarian would have to prescribe them—they are still recommended for “preventive” purposes. In other words, the animal can still be perfectly healthy at the time the antibiotic is used.
This makes the regulation rife for abuse. In the Netherlands, for example, meat producers simply started using more antibiotics for what was still allowed: preventing disease or treating it. Dik Mevius, a leading expert on antibiotic resistance at the University of Utrecht, said, “We saw a more- or-less doubling of those drugs that were used for therapy, so the total exposure of animals to antibiotics remained virtually the same from 1999 to 2007.” After many Dutch pig farmers realized they and their families were carrying antibiotic-resistant strains of disease-causing bacteria, the Dutch government clamped down hard. Each farm now has to report how often it uses antibiotics for all purposes. Farms that use a lot are told specifically what they need to do to cut back. The government is funding a good deal of research into farming methods that don’t require antibiotics.
Here in the US, the FDA is trusting Big Farma to voluntarily restrain itself—even though the industry’s own data and research shows that the superbug problem that we’ve been telling you about is a serious public health issue, and industry hasn’t taken any steps so far to fight it. The problem, of course, is that FDA is rife with conflicts of interest, as exemplified by the revolving-door hiring of former Monsanto vice president Michael Taylor as FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods. A petition to have Taylor ousted has been gaining steam recently.
FDA must stop allowing all non-therapeutic uses for antibiotics in farm animals—and expecting the rapacious Big Ag industry to stop it voluntarily is absurd. If you have not already done so, please take action and write to the FDA immediately!

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  1. This is animal abuse, environmental abuse, and human abuse. Can you STOP it NOW.

  2. Please stop the vaccinations and antibiotic in farm animals that people consume.. There is a steep rise in the number of children born with multiple life threatening allergies. My grandson is one who has so many allergies he has been in the hospital near death at least 10 times. We have an epi-pen for him to hold him over while we rush him to the hospital. Next year he will start school. There is a fear someone will give him something from their lunch and he could die. STOP the Antibiotics and be more selective with Vaccines.

  3. Absolutely this needs to happen and also since we are the fattest nation in the world – meat eating should be cut down so that pigs and other animals can be farmed the way they should be, grazing not locked up in 6 inches of filth for a lifetime – which is less than 1/5 the normal life span and all our fields used for growing feed as opposed to letting them graze naturally.

  4. Researching documents in states where CAFOs are prevalent, I find that there is significant antibiotic content in ground water. We are already facing illnesses that are resistant to current antibiotics and there are no replacements to expect in the near future. This does not bode well for our population and the implications are frightening. People of good conscience do not take such risks.

  5. So…..we built a government meant to protect the people from harm…..and now the government agencies are asking the businesses they are supposed to monitor to monitor themselves. This is outrageous.
    We need food that is not loaded with anti botics. And if the FDA refuses to do its job..then we will be forced to replace big ag products with ones we can trust.

  6. Michael Taylor should not only be ousted he should be put in a federal prison along with everyone past or present that is connected with Monsanto for crimes against Humanity. You have to know, unless you live under a rock, that their planned Eugenics (per the Rockefeller Foundation) has consistently been a part of the New World Order.

  7. Are you just going to wait until the years and years of antibiotic overuse will render them completely ineffective in treating disease and we end up with a devastating plague? Or, are you just going to let big Pharma decide to curtail their exorbitant profits themselves??! Dream on!!!

  8. 4/17/12
    Dear FDA,
    Please help stop the use of antibiotics that are unnecessary — they could create viruses that could eradicate humans!
    Please, FDA, stop allowing all non-therapeutic uses for antibiotics in farm animals (expecting the Big Ag industry to stop it voluntarily is absurd.)
    Thank you.
    Serena C. Wittkopp, B.A.

  9. Anitbiotics in farm animals inevitably find their way into the food chain. We are already too aware of the dangers of overuse of anitbiotics and their reducing ability to treat infections. Please stop using them in farm animals before it is too late.

    1. While I agree that animals bound for the food chain should receive only necessary amounts of antibiotics and observe the appropriate withdrawal periods after use, there are many small backyard hobby farms/pets that will be adversely affected when the vet is not available or getting a prescription and then filling it could take enough time that the animal will die. Remember, absolute rules are only for absolute fools. Control only what is necessary and leave the rest alone. Most factory farms have used antibiotics as an alternate growth hormone. They also use medicated feed to make up for the overcrowded conditions they raise our food in. And they are the ones with the lobbying power to make sure they are not really affected anyway. Just the small guys.

  10. Anyone using only half a brain knows that when you over-use something it becomes harmful. Over-use of antibiotics is harmful to the user, and, in time, become worthless. The old saying, “You are what you eat,” is so true. We are being fed meats from animals that were fed chemicals that would make them “bulk up” so that they would weigh more and the seller would get more money. So, the chemicals are now in the consumer, and they too are bulking up. Add to that the fact that the animals are not active, and not permitted to walk, run, or in any way get exercise and the people eating these animals are not as active as they once were and look at your population!!
    I suggest that we quit messing with what God has created and let the animals eat what God has created in the beautiful fields of the world.And then, let us eat that too.

  11. My question is–what good will our protests and reasoned arguments do? The people controlling governmental and business decisions are not actually required by law to do things right. And they won’t be punished if they do wrong–tthere are no laws specifically about any of that.
    It’s like the schoolyard bully’s chant: “I don’t have to–and you can’t make me.”
    Pleadings, protestations, passionate personal stories–why should they heed to anything WE say? They are appointed, not elected–so we can’t vote them out. They have no term limit on how long they keep their positions–so we can’t depend on just holding our breath until they leave office.
    But there should be some of these legal restraints placed on their power.
    There are also less obvious influences at work. I buy only organic (or raised organically), grass-fed meat. Which limits me to hamburger meat–I can’t afford $15/lb grass-fed steak, or $5/lb organic turkey. This may be a factor in keeping feedlot producers in business–the majority today are “the 99%” and cannot afford to buy a month’s worth of food for what the farmers have to charge to stay afloat. While we rail at FDA and Big Farma, let us not overlook the high cost of alfalfa and other animal feeds, and the hidden cost of having to wait three years instead of only 18 months, before an animal grows to marketable size. I hope someone with sharper wits than mine can figure out how to address and actually resolve these issues.

  12. Here is the problem. Modern mass farming methods are so stressful to the animals that antibiotics are practically a necessity to keep them from getting sick.
    To revolutionize the farming methods would require huge and costly change, – so goodby cheap beef –
    on the other side – a farm that does not use ani-biotics ipso facto has better, more humane, more natural, more animal-care, better feed oriented farming methods, so the animals are natural healthy, stronger home-on-the-range creatures.
    Just outlawing the use of anti-biotics is a cloud castle. The producers cannot do it without a reformed farming practice, which is where the thrust must come.
    As usual, voteing with the posket book – where you shop and what you buy – is the real answer.

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