Monday, May 16, 2011

This is News?

Here’s a bulletin from Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y.: Most antibiotics given to livestock are administered through feed and water, with only a small fraction administered by injection.

Slaughter revealed these unstartling “facts” in a Friday press release. Incredibly, she jumped from this information to the totally unsupported claim that livestock farmers are “rampantly misusing antibiotics in an attempt to cover up filthy, unsanitary living conditions among animals” and that this leads to antibiotic resistance.

It seems obvious Ms. Slaughter never has been in a modern hog barn, which is biosecure and temperature-controlled. Such housing protects pigs from parasites and disease, which reduces animals' need for antibiotics. Barns are cleaned and disinfected after each lot of hogs is sent to market.

Furthermore, no scientific study ever has linked antibiotic use in food animals with antibiotic resistance in humans, a point that top government scientists conceded to Congress. Slaughter routinely has ignored these kinds of unhelpful facts—along with the reality that antibiotics help keep animals healthy and ensure safe food in the meat case—in her years-long quest to severely curtail antibiotics use in livestock.

So far her effort has been unsuccessful, and with Republicans firmly in control of the House of Representatives it is likely to remain so.

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