The Coalition for Animal Health includes organizations representing veterinarians, farmers and ranchers, food and feed producers and animal medicine manufacturers. They have written House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to ask that she not allow the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009, a bill to ban certain animal health products, to be tacked on to legislation currently under consideration including food safety and health care reform measures.
Under H.R. 1549 products used to prevent and control diseases in livestock and poultry would be banned. Farmers would only be allowed to use animal health products that treat diseases. The bill also requires all critical antimicrobial animal drugs to go through a second Food and Drug Administration approval process within two years of enactment of the legislation.
The legislation's sponsors say the legislation will address an increase in antibiotic-resistant illnesses in humans, but the Coalition points to risk assessments, including one conducted by FDA, showing risk levels associated with antibiotic use in agriculture are extremely low. Also, nationally recognized scientific studies have shown the removal of important animal health products could actually increase food safety risks.