Hurd talks antibiotics to congressional staffers

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The American Farm Bureau Federation and other members of the Coalition for Animal Health last week hosted an educational briefing for congressional staff on meat production, public health and the importance of antibiotics. The briefing focused on helping legislators understand how and why farmers and ranchers use antibiotics.

Presenters included Dr. Scott Hurd, a veterinarian and epidemiologist at Iowa State University; Dr. Christine Hoang with the American Veterinary Medical Association; and Dr. Rich Carnevale from the Animal Health Institute.

The risk to humans is negligible due to on-farm antibiotic use, Hurd said, citing numerous peer-reviewed scientific assessments that have failed to demonstrate any detectable risk treatment failure in humans caused by on-farm antibiotic use in animals.

Failure to prevent or treat illness causes unnecessary animal suffering and death, Hurd pointed out. Further, he explained, animals with residual effects of illness are more likely to cause human foodborne disease.

“Every farm with animals is both a maternity hospital and a day care,” Hurd said. “Animals need medicines at times, just like kids do. This becomes a moral and ethical issue…at what point will we deny treatment? It’s not right to withhold veterinary care for animals.”

Antibiotics for animals are needed because illnesses can move quickly through populations and livestock cannot “stay home” when they are sick.

Farmers and veterinarians are working together to manage potential hazards, with the goal of producing a safe and wholesome food supply, protecting public health and preserving antibiotics for use by future generations.

“It’s a long way from farm to harm,” Hurd said.

Commenting on several bacteria of concern to the Infectious Disease Society, Hurd said most, including Staphyloccous infections (MRSA), Streptococcus pneumoniae and drug-resistant tuberculosis, are not foodborne infections or related in any way to food-producing animals.

Read Scott Hurd’s blog at http://hurdhealth.com/.



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David Brewbaker    
March, 20, 2013 at 08:43 AM

I was in the hospital and was infected with MRSA pneumonia. MRSA is the resinfectionult of over pre..scribing AB for any sniffle or other viral infection. Drug resistant TB is being carried by illegal aliens from Mexico. AB use in animals is the "fall guy" for drug resistance. Animals should not suffer because of false beliefs promoted by anti meat fanatics.

michael    
kansas  |  March, 20, 2013 at 07:13 PM

Thanks for the report. And thanks to Dr. Hurd for his valiant attempts to educate the willfully ignorant. Was alleged "scientist" and our primary nemesis, Rep. Slaughter (D-NY), in attendance? As the leading light of banning antibiotic use in livestock, I'm wondering if she bothered to show and/or made comments? She's famed for discounting actual science and offering up the latest animal rightist and/or vegan produced pseudo-science and speculations. As she has been very effective in mis-informing her fellow legisaltors to her advantage, it would seem important to deal with her and her following as directly and quickly as possible. Would be good to hear more about and from her, yes?

michael    
kansas  |  March, 20, 2013 at 07:13 PM

Thanks for the report. And thanks to Dr. Hurd for his valiant attempts to educate the willfully ignorant. Was alleged "scientist" and our primary nemesis, Rep. Slaughter (D-NY), in attendance? As the leading light of banning antibiotic use in livestock, I'm wondering if she bothered to show and/or made comments? She's famed for discounting actual science and offering up the latest animal rightist and/or vegan produced pseudo-science and speculations. As she has been very effective in mis-informing her fellow legisaltors to her advantage, it would seem important to deal with her and her following as directly and quickly as possible. Would be good to hear more about and from her, yes?