Broad coalition asks for more money for antibiotic monitoring
March 18, 2016
A broad coalition of meat industry leaders, veterinarians and critics of the use of antibiotics in meat animals this week wrote appropriators to ask them to support President Barack Obama's fiscal 2017 budget request for an additional $35 million for Agriculture Department research, monitoring and surveillance under the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (CARB) strategy.
"Efforts in both human health and animal health are leading to more judicious use of antibiotics," the leaders wrote.
"A key development in animal health is [the Food and Drug Administration's] judicious use policy, which will eliminate production uses of medically important antibiotics and put all remaining therapeutic uses of antibiotics administered in feed or water under the supervision of a veterinarian," the letter said.
"A stronger federal system of data collection, monitoring and enhanced surveillance will greatly assist in understanding the impacts of these changes."
The administration's request for an additional $10 million for USDA's Animal and Plant Health Service is urgent, the letter said, because USDA has worked with the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine "to plan activities that will add to our understanding of how antibiotics are used in veterinary medicine and animal agriculture and how those uses affect antibiotic resistance levels."
"This information will not only assist policymakers but will assist veterinarians and producers as they make management decisions about the use of antibiotics on their farms," they continued. "We appreciate Congress providing approximately $378 million in additional CARB funding in last year's omnibus funding bill, but note that the entire increase was for activities in human health, none in animal health."
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Industry leaders and critics concerned about the overuse of antibiotics in meat agree on the need for more funding to monitor antibiotic use, John Johnson, the chief operating officer of the National Pork Board, noted at a dinner Tuesday sponsored by the pork board and organized by The Atlantic.
The pork board also sponsored a conference on the subject organized by The Atlantic on Wednesday.
–The Hagstrom Report