California is considering a bill that would ban the use of over-the-counter antibiotics in livestock and poultry. The bill has been proposed in response to growing concerns that antibiotic use in animal agriculture may lead to antibiotic resistance.
“This is a global problem, and we have to solve the problem to make it work,” bill author state Sen. Jerry Hill said. “I think people are realizing, and especially when you look at the numbers, when you look at 23,000 people, that’s 23,000 deaths from antibiotic resistant bacteria. There’s nothing that could be done.”
The bill, SB 27, would allow antibiotics to still be used if they are administered under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian and involved a prescription. The proposed legislation would also make it unlawful to use a medically important antibiotic to promote growth or to improve feed efficiency. The antibiotics could only be used to prevent, control or treat animal diseases.
According to a report from CBS Sacramento, if the proposed bill passes the full California Senate and Assembly, it would go into effect in January 2016 and would make California the first state in the union to have a law banning use of such antibiotics in agriculture.