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'Moms for Antibiotic Awareness' to Tackle Drug Use in Livestock


After the FDA, CDC and USDA testified before Congress last year about a direct link between non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock and antibiotic resistance in humans, the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming launched a grassroots movement called "Moms for Antibiotic Awareness."

The government agencies confirmed that the excessive use of antibiotics in the food supply has had a devastating impact on our ability to control certain types of bacteria. With more than 29 million pounds of antibiotics fed to livestock each year, cases of drug-resistant "superbug" bacteria and infections are on the rise. Antibiotics are commonly given as a preventative—to help thwart the onset of infections routinely found in animals who are forced to live in densely packed cages and feed lots. Infections also can set in as a result of procedures such as tail docking and beak searing, which are not only done in non-sterile environments, but they're also conducted without the use of any painkillers.

Every year, tens of thousands of Americans die and hundreds of thousands more are made seriously ill from infections resistant to antibiotics. Children and the elderly are at a higher risk of vulnerability to these types of diseases.

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A comprehensive survey throughout several states recently revealed high levels of antibiotic-resistant Staph bacteria in a number of meats sampled from restaurants and supermarkets.

"We need to preserve antibiotics for sick children, not healthy animals," said Laura Rogers, project director of the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming. "The FDA and Congress must ensure these medicines continue to work -- and no group is better suited than moms to propel these institutions to restrict injudicious use of antibiotics in food animal production."

The campaign found that more than 80 percent of mothers who participated in an online poll are concerned about the antibiotic regimens currently given to livestock animals.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Photo: D.A.K.Photography

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