socastcmsRssStartBy Cole Lauterbach | Illinois News NetworksocastcmsRssEnd
State lawmakers continue to discuss a bill to curtail the use of antibiotics in livestock in Illinois to prevent drug-resistant bacteria in humans.
Lawmakers talked about the legislation – sponsored by outgoing state Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston – during a joint hearing of the Senate Agriculture and Public Health Committees.
Should lawmakers pick up the legislation next spring, it would limit the use to only “medically-important” antibiotics that “may be administered to a food-producing animal only if prescribed by a veterinarian licensed under the Veterinary Medicine and Surgery Practice Act of 2004 who has visited the farm operation within the previous 6 months and only if deemed necessary for specified purposes.”
Biss called the matter a global public health challenge.
“Once it gets too out of control, there’s just nothing that can be done,” he said. “You affect everyone’s health, regardless of their proximity to the agriculture industry.”
Agriculture advocates say the United States Department of Agriculture has measures in place to address antimicrobial resistance.
“This is a complicated problem and it will require many of the best scientific minds to develop sound, science-based solutions,” said Aaron Lower, a veterinarian from Carroll County. “The [Food and Drug Administration] is more qualified to investigate and develops regulations on these important issues versus the Illinois Department of Agriculture or the Illinois Department of Public Health.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be passed from livestock to people through the handling of raw foods, transmission via water or external sources or by caring for livestock.