Time to Weigh In on Antiobiotic Issue

Published on: 09:20AM Aug 24, 2009

By Dan Goehl, DVM

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Recently legislation has been brought up to limit the use of antibiotics. The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) has been written under the premise that it is there to protect antibiotic resistance. 

In truth, there is zero scientific evidence that limiting use of antibiotics in animals will have any effect on resistance. If the data is researched where antibiotic use has been greatly reduced, it will show that not only did it not improve the resistance issues but it greatly increased production cost. Organizations that either do not understand agriculture, or worse yet have a goal of destroying it, are pushing this agendas forward. 

People in agriculture, in general, have been passive and unorganized in our efforts to confront these issues. Organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have an unhidden agenda of eliminating what we do to provide food for the masses of the world. These organizations are well funded and will go to extremes. Many of you may have seen the photos of the topless women and men dressed as mermaids, lying on the sidewalk in Seattle protesting the abuse of fish at the fish market. 

I urge you to write to your elected officials regarding this issue and to become involved. As more and more people become generations removed from a life in agriculture, it becomes more and more vital that we work together to get our message out. I would urge everyone to write to your elected officials regarding PAMTA. 

The assumptions made in this bill are not backed by sound science. As a person of science, I want to see data and there is none to validate their point, only assumptions with subjective bias.  If we are creating a problem with usage of antibiotics in animals, then I would be the first to want to know and would object to that standard of practice, but the fact is there is no evidence of such a relationship. 

The PAMTA bill creates a risk system analysis demanding zero risk; zero risk is unobtainable in nearly every facet of life. Removal of preventive uses for food animals will create widespread suffering and loss of animal resources due to the lack of ability of veterinarians and producers to intervene in disease processes before they are out of control.   

The bill cites non-credible science such as the Union of Concerned Scientists antibiotic use estimates. It also cites a heavily biased PEW report which ignored the input of animal scientists and veterinarians. The USDA report which, according to the text of the bill, defines a link between animal antibiotic use and human health does nothing of the sort. It simply makes a statement attributed to work by others. 

If you don’t take time to voice your opinion on this, then who should?

One last piece of trivia for food for thought -  a 3-ounce steak from nonimplanted beef has 1.2 ng of estrogen, implanted beef has 1.9 ng, an adult man produces 136,000 ng per day and a pregnant women 64,000,000 ng everyday!

Follow this link to read the bill.

Dan Goehl, DVM, and his wife own and operate Canton Veterinary Clinic in Canton, MO, where Dan works primarily with stocker and cow/calf beef operations. Dan is also partner in Professional Beef Services, LLC, which offers herd consultation and helps in data management and marketing of beef cattle.

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