New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter has once again introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act.
The legislation is designed to stop the overuse of antibiotics on the farm — a practice Slaughter said is accelerating the growth of antibiotic-resistance disease. The act is being introduced just two weeks after Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, warned that their strongest antibiotics don’t work and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections.
“Since 1977, when the FDA acknowledged the threat of antibiotic-resistant disease and called for a reduction in the use of antibiotics in animals, we have been waiting for meaningful action to protect public health,” said Slaughter. “Instead, we’ve gotten delays and half measure, and as a result, even common illnesses like strep throat could soon prove fatal. I’ve introduced this legislation because Congress must act immediately to protect the public health.”
Slaughter has introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act four times since 2007. In 2013, the legislation is updated to reflect what she refers to as the “severity of the growing crisis.”
According the recently-released 2011 NARMS Retail Meat Survey, antibiotic resistance among cephalosporins found on chicken and turkey has increased by 23.5 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively. As a result, Slaughter has explicitly named cephalosporins as an eighth class of antibiotics that would be prohibited from non-therapeutic use on animals (previous versions of the legislation explicitly named seven classes.) The new text also clarifies the term “non-therapeutic use” to ensure that any use of medically important antibiotics outside of treatment of a sick animal is not permitted.