Federal government ban on routine use of antibiotics in livestock likely to falter
Many health authorities believe that overuse of antibiotics in healthy livestock, simply to stimulate growth, is contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. On July 14, the Obama Administration indicated it intends to introduce legislation to ban this routine use of lifesaving medications. The Obama plan was contained in written testimony provided to the House Rules Committee by Joshua Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner of the FDA. The move is supported by the AMA but opposed by the National Pork Producers Council: most observers believe that farm-lobby opposition will prevent the ban from passing. The Union of Concerned Scientists has estimated that 70 percent of antibiotics used in the U.S. are disseminated to healthy animals to stimulate growth and without supervision by a veterinarian.