Administration has dangerously 'regressive' policy on curbing antibiotic use in livestock

A new analysis by the Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future deems the administration and Congress's response to industrial food animal systems issues has been "regressive" due to the influence of farm and pharmaceutical lobbies.

According to the Hopkins study, which echoes recent comments by the CDC, curbing the use of antibiotics in humans and livestock is crucial to preventing the further development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

Over 23,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant strains of formerly treatable bacteria in the United States each year, and the mass distribution of antibiotics to livestock is only accelerating the resistance-building process.

However, both the National Beef Packing Company and the National Pork Producers Council are vigorously fighting any legislation that would stop the practice of feeding livestock antibiotics prior to slaughter in order to fatten them. The two groups have spent a combined $430,000 directly lobbying against legislation introduced by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) that would put a stop to the practice.

Pharmaceutical companies like Merck & CO and Eli Lilly & Co, both of whom manufacture antibiotics used to fatten livestock, have spent northward of a combined $14.8 million lobbying so far this year.

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