WASHINGTON - Karen Steuer, director of government operations for the Pew Environment Group, today issued the following statement in response to the House Energy & Commerce Committee mark up of the Animal Drug User Fee Act:
“The routine use of antibiotics in animal agriculture has long been a contributing factor in the rise of antibiotic-resistant disease. The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production recently joined the World Health Organization, the National Academies of Science, and the Centers for Disease Control in pointing out how this practice squanders the effectiveness of life-saving medicines.
“Antibiotics are regularly added to the feed of chickens, hogs, and beef cattle to increase animal growth rates even though numerous studies have connected this practice to antibiotic resistant e-Coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter.
“The House Energy & Commerce Committee has started addressing an emerging public health threat that costs our already overtaxed health care system millions of dollars annually.
“Including improved reporting standards in the Animal Drug User Fee Act to address antibiotic resistance will help us understand the breadth of the problem. This is a good first step but more needs to be done. Removing antibiotics from animal feed is an urgent public health priority.”