An­tibi­otic use in live­stock, poul­try al­ready taken care of

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum - Chuck Fry, David­sonville The writer is the pres­i­dent of the Mary­land Farm Bureau.

Farm­ers and med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als across the spec­trum have been con­cerned about the use of an­tibi­otics in poul­try and live­stock. To ad­dress these con­cerns, a new set of reg­u­la­tions pub­lished by the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion will go into full ef­fect on Jan. 1, 2017, pre­vent­ing any overuse or mis­use of an­tibi­otics in the farm sec­tor.

These new reg­u­la­tions will re­move “over-the-counter” pur­chases and re­quire a Ve­teri­nar­ian Feed Di­rec­tive (VFD) for the use of med­i­cally im­por­tant an­tibi­otics in live­stock and poul­try. The reg­u­la­tions will also elim­i­nate the abil­ity of pro­duc­ers to use an­tibi­otics for growth pro­mo­tion.

A fo­rum will be held in Charles County soon that may omit the sig­nif­i­cant steps that have al­ready been taken to ad­dress an­tibi­otic use in live­stock and poul­try. Or­ga­niz­ers may sug­gest that leg­is­la­tion is needed in Annapolis. In fact, dur­ing the 2016 Mar yland Gen­eral Assem­bly ses­sion, leg­is­la­tion was de­feated that would have fur­ther ratch­eted down an­tibi­otic use by farm­ers. These bills would have pre­vented the use of an­tibi­otics for dis­ease prevention.

Both bod­ies agreed to al­low the fed­eral reg­u­la­tions to take ef­fect and pro­vide a level play­ing field for farm­ers in Mary­land who com­pete with farm­ers across the coun­try. Mary­land Farm Bureau has been work­ing with live­stock and poul­try pro­duc­ers around the state for over two years to help pre­pare for the changes that will oc­cur na­tion­wide on Jan. 1. We have worked closely with the Mary­land De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture and the state ve­teri­nar­ian to cre­ate a pro­to­col for farm­ers, vet­eri­nar­i­ans and feed stores to im­ple­ment the new fed­eral reg­u­la­tions.

We firmly be­lieve that it would be a mis­take to en­act poli­cies to re­strict a live­stock pro­ducer from using com­mon dis­ease prevention meth­ods to ad­min­is­ter proper an­i­mal hus­bandry and main­tain a healthy herd. Be­cause the fed­eral reg­u­la­tion will elim­i­nate over­the-counter an­tibi­otic use, ad­di­tional changes are not nec­es­sary. If adopted, fur­ther re­stric­tions would likely lead to out­breaks of live­stock sick­ness and in­creased an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance, as more sick an­i­mals would have to be treated, lead­ing to more op­por­tu­ni­ties for re­sis­tant bac­te­ria to be cre­ated.

Ve­teri­nar­ian pre­scribed dis­ease prevention is hu­mane for the an­i­mals and it en­sures less an­tibi­otic use over­all.

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