A recent Animal Welfare Approved blog post by Andrew Gunther shared some heartening news:
At a hearing of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday, July 14, 2010, a representative of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) finally caught up with the rest of the world–and his peers at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)–and admitted that the use of antibiotics in farm animal feed is contributing to the growing problem of deadly antibiotic resistance in America.
Dr. John Clifford, Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) read from previously submitted testimony that the USDA believes it is likely that U.S. use of antibiotics in animal agriculture does lead to some cases of resistance in humans and the animals.
Why is this news? Because the USDA has been continually playing the Three Wise Monkeys game–it sees no evil, hears no evil, and speaks no evil–when it comes to deadly consequences to humans of the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in farm animals. In fact, Dr. Clifford looked as he’d been given a choice between testifying or having his eye poked out with a stick and he lost the toss.
However grudging the USDA’s admission, it’s nice to have it on the record.