The latest National Institute for Animal Agriculture seminar, "Bridging the Gap Between Animal Health and Human Health," focused on the discussions regarding animal antibiotic use, and the potential for adversaries to become allies.
The seminar, being held November 12-14 in Kansas City, featured comments from a variety of veterinarians and industry experts, including moderator Dr. Richard Raymond, former U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary for food safety, and Dr. Leah Dorman, Ohio Farm Bureau director of food programs.
Dorman said people involved in animal health, human health and environmental health all have a stake in the antibiotics debate, and partnerships between people of differing interests will need to be made. "Partnerships are scary," said Dorman. "You might have to spend some time building a relationship in order to build some trust." Dorman added that rather than talking about one another, people of differing views must talk to one another.
Raymond looked back into American history, comparing antibiotic issues to the prohibition of alcohol. The laws banning alcohol were based on knee-jerk reactions and not from sound science and thoughtful dialogue between people of opposing views, and the same could happen with animal antibiotic use, he said.
"(You need to be) at that table saying 'I want to hear your thoughts, I want to hear your concerns, let's have a discussion on how my thoughts are different than yours and let's see if we can get somewhere together,'" said Raymond. You've got to on this issue, or you will get a law passed like a ban on alcohol in the '20s."