June 29, 2012
The American Sheep Industry Association joined nearly 20 other national and state agriculture groups in requesting resolution by the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee on funding for the Minor Use Animal Drug Program when they take up discussion of the 2012 Farm Bill.
The Minor Use Animal Drug Program was to be funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Special Research Grant, which gets a small percentage of Hatch funds and is administered by National Institute of Food and Agriculture. About a decade ago, the program received congressionally-directed money and has been considered an earmark since that time. Funding has fluctuated from a high of $611,000 in fiscal year 1994 to a low of no funding in fiscal years 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012. Since 1982, Congress has appropriated a total of $12.6 million.
The market for minor animal drugs is insufficient to justify costly research expenditures by pharmaceutical firms to obtain Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. The program supports securing drug approval of FDA-approved products for minor uses. In addition to antimicrobials, some of the agents reviewed by the program are ones that reduce pain and inflammation, prevent parasites and facilitate year-round breeding.
The program gives veterinarians and producers access to drugs so that disease and suffering can be minimized, the potential for contamination of products with drug residues and creation of drug resistance is lessened and industries can better compete in the international markets.