AVMA Calls Out Pew Commission on Industrial Animal Production Report

Vet group finds numerous points of contention with a major livestock production report.

Published on: Oct 26, 2009
The American Veterinary Medical Association says it has found fault with numerous aspects of the well-known Pew Commission report, "Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production on America," released in the spring of 2008.

A major point of contention is that the Pew Commission report is used as reference by some groups that believe microbial resistance in animals, believed to be brought on by overexposure to drugs, may be transferred to humans. Consequently, some of these organizations are calling for legislation to ban the use of some antibiotics in animals. But the AVMA doesn't believe the research behind that assertion has been robust.

"Passing legislation that would ban the use of these antibiotics before science-based studies and risk-based evaluations are done to determine if there is an actual risk to human health would be detrimental to animal and human health," says an Aug. 17 press release from AVMA.  "Inappropriate reactions to the use of antibiotics could have unknown and unintended consequences that negatively affect animal health and welfare, and ultimately could create other public health risks, such as increased food borne disease."

But AVMA's criticism doesn't stop there. It notes a number of other concerns with the Pew Commission report.

"The Pew Commission purports to have utilized a process that melds the thoughts of top academics and diverse stakeholders into its grandiose examination of food animal production," AVMA says. "However, the Pew Commission's process for gaining technical expertise in the technical reports was biased and did not incorporate the findings and suggestions of a significant number of participating academicians."

AVMA claims 78,000 members, a membership that represents about 86% of all U.S. veterinarians.

For more information on the AVMA position, download the full report from the association's webpage at www.avma.org/advocacy/PEWresponse

You can also download a .pdf file of the Pew Commission report from the same web location.