by Saerom Yoo, Statesman Journal
The Oregon Legislature is considering limiting the nonmedical use of antibiotics in large animal farms through two bills, with the hopes of preventing the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 million Americans become ill with antibiotic-resistant infections annually, and 23,000 die from these illnesses. The proponents of the legislation say the bills target the most blatant overusers of antibiotics: factory farms.
Factory farms have long used low doses of antibiotics in animal feed and water to promote quicker growth and to prevent disease. Advocates say this practice, coupled with unhygienic and cramped living conditions for the animals, are hot breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources heard testimony on House Bill 2598 last week, and the Senate Committee on Health Care will hear a similar bill (Senate Bill 920) Monday.
The bills would prohibit giving antibiotics to healthy farm animals and require factory farms to report how antibiotics are used in their operations. The rules would be largely self-enforcing, though the attorney general could step in 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.
If one of the bills passes, Oregon could become the first state in the country to regulate animal farms' use of antibiotics, OSPIRG's executive director Dave Rosenfeld said.
CLICK HERE to read the full article
Source: Oregon Statesman Journal