Prevent the Misuse of Antibiotics

The Preservation of Antibiotics for Human Treatment Act (S. 2508) will phase out the routine feeding of medically important antibiotics to healthy livestock and poultry. The poultry and livestock industries have been major culprits in the overuse of antibiotics. The misuse of antibiotics is leading to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which are causing increasing numbers of serious, difficult-to-treat illnesses in humans.

Healthy farm animals are routinely fed antibiotics to promote growth and compensate for unsanitary conditions, particularly at crowded factory farms. This "nontherapeutic" use of antibiotics in healthy pigs, poultry, and beef cattle constitutes an estimated 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States.

S. 2508 will phase-out the nontherapeutic use of eight types of antibiotics in animal agriculture that are also used in human medicine, or are so closely related to human use drugs that they trigger cross-resistance. By targeting the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics, the bill properly allows sick animals to receive necessary treatment.

The act also bans the use in poultry of Cipro-like drugs called fluoroquinolones. In October 2000, the FDA proposed to ban poultry fluoroquinolones because their use undercuts the effectiveness of Cipro and related drugs in treating certain forms of severe food poisoning in humans.

The American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the World Health Organization and other leading health organizations are on record opposing both the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.

Add your voice and press for fast action on this vital legislation. Send a letter now to your Senator and ask him or her to stand for public health and safety by cosponsoring and supporting S. 2508, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Human Treatment Act.


I strongly urge you to take a stand for public health by cosponsoring S. 2508, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Human Treatment Act.


S. 2508 will phase out the routine feeding of medically important antibiotics to healthy livestock and poultry. Today, an estimated 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are fed to healthy pigs, poultry, and beef cattle to promote growth and to compensate for crowded, unsanitary conditions in intensive livestock operations.


In addition, the bill will phase out the use of Cipro-like drugs (called fluoroquinolones) in treating sick poultry. The Food and Drug Administration proposed such a ban in October 2000 because the use undercuts the effectiveness of fluoroquinolones in treating certain types of severe food poisoning in humans.


Such phase-outs are clearly feasible. Indeed top poultry companies including Perdue and Foster Farms have told the New York Times that they are not using medically important antibiotics for nontherapeutic purposes. And Perdue recently announced, "it will no longer use fluoroquinolone antibiotics to treat any of its chicken or turkey flocks."


The emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria threatens all Americans, but especially the most vulnerable - the very young, the very old, and those with already weakened immune systems, including cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, persons living with HIV/AIDS, and those with certain other medical conditions. Antibiotic resistance already costs the health-care system billions of dollars each year -- a figure that will only increase as resistance continues to worsen.


The American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the World Health Organization and other leading health organizations are on record opposing both the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in animal agriculture and the therapeutic use of fluoroquinolones in poultry.


I urge you to announce your support for S. 2508, add your name as a cosponsor, and press for quick action on this important legislation.

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