Recently, Farm Aid has been actively engaging in national efforts to bring together new and diverse stakeholders in the fight against factory farms. An issue that keeps coming up as a major enabler of factory farm production is the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics as feed additives. Not only are antibiotics misused to enable extreme crowding and other stresses on animals, their misuse has major implications for antibiotic resistant infections and human health. In 2011, the FDA determined that 80 percent of antibacterial drugs disseminated in the U.S. in 2010 were sold for use on livestock.
Last week Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced important legislation (co-sponsored with bipartisan support by Senator Boxer, Senator Cantwell, Senator Collins and Senator Reed) to limit the use of antibiotics in livestock production. If enacted, the bill would restrict the use of antibiotics critical to human health in livestock production unless they are used to treat clinically diagnosable diseases. It would also require drug companies and producers to demonstrate that they are using drugs to treat sick animals, not just using the important drugs to enable factory farm practices like overcrowding and promoting faster, bigger growth. Similar legislation was introduced in the House earlier this year by Representative Louise Slaughter, with 47 co-sponsors.
These bills aren’t just about protecting human and animal health – they support family farmers, worker rights, rural communities and the welfare of our environment too. Let your senators and reps know that you’re behind them! They need your support and the pressure of The People to push these important measures through Congress.