The Oregon Legislature is considering limiting the non-medical use of antibiotics in large-scale farms through two bills, with hopes of preventing the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources has already heard testimony on House Bill 2598, and the Senate Committee on Health Care will hear a similar bill (Senate Bill 920) on April 6.

The bills would prohibit giving antibiotics to healthy farm animals and require Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) to report how antibiotics are used in their operations. Out of Oregon’s 35,000 farms, 100 to 110 of them meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of CAFOs, including one operated by poultry company Foster Farms, the Statesman Journal reported.

The rules would be largely self-enforcing, though the attorney general could intervene if a farm is shown to be in violation.

In the House bill, the point agency would be the Department of Agriculture, and in the Senate bill, the point agency would be the Oregon Health Authority.


Opponents who testified against HB 2598, including the Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Feed and Grain Association and Northwest Food Processors, said such regulation should be left up to the federal government.

The Obama administration also last week announced a national plan to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The proposed federal plan seeks to end use of “medically important” antibiotics for growth-promotion purposes.