Today, 20 American food producer groups and the industries that serve them wrote to the assistant to the president for domestic policy to convey the significant political and scientific complexity of the use of antibiotics on farms to prevent, treat and control disease in food-producing animals.
Farmers and ranchers strive daily to provide the best possible management of their animals through superior genetics, nutrition, veterinary care, housing and handling. Optimal animal health and welfare leads to production of safe, affordable and abundant food, critical to U.S. food security. Maintaining the health of U.S. herds and flocks requires farmers and ranchers to have all approved, safe and effective technologies, including animal health products, available to them.
However, despite the unsubstantiated allegations surrounding these uses, no conclusive scientific studies have been offered demonstrating that the use of antibiotics on farms contributes significantly to an increase in human resistance. In fact, a growing body of evidence shows just the opposite, namely the responsible, professional use of these products reduces pathogens in and on foods, enhancing animal welfare while not contributing to resistance.
The organizations welcome honest discussion with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on science-based, pragmatic options allowing producers to farm in the best interests of their animals and customers while providing consumers assurance our use of these vital, safe and effective production tools is professional, judicious and does not jeopardize these products' effectiveness in human medicine.
"The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) supports discussions with FDA," commented Peter Orwick, executive director of ASI. "The sheep industry endorses the on-farm use of antibiotics for medical treatment."