Md. Bill Seeks To Limit Antibiotic Use In Livestock As Part Of ‘Superbug’ Fight

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland is considering limiting the use of human antibiotics in livestock as part of the battle against “superbugs.”

A bill to restrict the overuse of antibiotics in livestock, called the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act, is one approach to fighting the evolution of bacteria that no antibiotic can kill.

It will be before the Senate this week, after passing in the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee on a 7-4 vote.

The head of the Centers For Disease Control has said it’s the end of the road for antibiotics unless we act urgently concerning superbugs that have already popped up in the U.S.

And livestock that are fed antibiotics daily to stay healthy in close quarters can develop drug-resistant bacteria in the gut that reaches humans through food, or in the case of one farmer, an injury from a bull dosed with penicillin.

Experts say reducing the use of antibiotics would keep them more effective. That Maryland Public Interest Research Group has a bill in the state senate.

“I think people do realize that’s why you’re seeing chicken and meat being sold without antibiotics,” says Emily Scarr, of PIRG. “There’s consumer demand.”

Perdue Farms, based in Maryland, was the first major poultry producer to eliminate routine use of antibiotics, and they’ve seen sales go up since.

According to a recent poll, the majority of Marylanders favor restrictions. Maryland would be only the second state, after California, to impose such restrictions.

The FDA, CDC and Department of Agriculture have all urged farmers to stop feeding antibiotics to healthy animals.

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