Livestock and poultry groups hosted educational briefings on Capitol Hill about the importance of access to antibiotics in raising healthy food animals.

“Taking FDA-approved animal drugs off the market would leave farmers and veterinarians with very limited options for preventing and controlling disease in livestock and poultry, which would have serious repercussions for animal health and preventing foodborne disease, with the strong likelihood that there would be no improvement in human health,” said Timothy Cummings, clinical poultry professor for the Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine at Mississippi State University. “It's absolutely vital that any decisions about the care of animals and the safety of our food be based on sound science rather than unsubstantiated concerns.”

Presenters explained that the industry has developed responsible-use programs to give feed companies and producers specific guidelines on the safe and proper use of antibiotics in health management systems. They countered claims that the use of antibiotics on farms contributes significantly to antibiotic resistance in humans, and said that the responsible use of these products enhances animal welfare and health.

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The briefings were held in cooperation with Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Reps. David Scott, D-Ga.; Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas; Zack Space, D-Ohio; and Roy Blunt, R-Mo. The informational sessions were co-hosted by theNational Chicken Council,National Pork Producers Council,National Turkey Federation, National Meat Association, American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Milk Producers Federation.