May 13, 2013

On April 15 and 16, SF Bay Area PSR President Dr. Robert Gould joined more than 50 participants gathered in Washington D.C. for the second annual “Supermoms Against Superbugs Advocacy Day” events sponsored by the Pew Foundation. Conference members that included parents, physicians, chefs, restauranteurs, and ranchers called on President Barack Obama, the FDA and Congress to end non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in food production.  The “supermoms” told heart-rendering stories about their personal or their children’s experiences with life-threatening illnesses due to organisms resistant to antibiotics, which underscored the critical need to change the practices of industrialized livestock and poultry operations that threaten personal, public and environmental health.

The first day included presentations which highlighted the fact that 80% of antibiotics are used for such non-therapeutic uses and that most major medical and public health organizations, including APHA, AMA, CDC and WHO, agree that non-therapeutic antibiotic use is a major public health problem that should be eliminated. On the second day, Dr. Gould led a delegation of physicians, chefs, restaurateurs and Supermoms to visit the offices of California Senators Feinstein and Boxer as well as Representative Waxman (D-CA) to thank them for their leadership on this issue, and to inform other Congressional members and staffers of their need to support current legislative initiatives aimed at safeguarding the appropriate use of antibiotics so critical for human health.

Representatives Waxman and Louise Slaughter (D-NY), herself a trained microbiologist, participated in a Congressional lunchtime briefing underscoring the  aforementioned dangers, while urging other Congressional members to support Rep. Slaughter’s Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA). PAMTA would end the routine use of antibiotics on healthy animals, reduce the associated growing threat of superbugs, and preserve the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics. Associated legislative and administrative initiatives would require the FDA to release more information about where, and in what quantities, antibiotics are used for non-therapeutic purposes.  Such information would be vital for physicians and public health authorities to protect our patients and the population at-large, while testing the efficacy of current voluntary efforts to curb use, which have been undertaken by the food industry and considered inadequate by many experts.  Click here to learn more about these efforts. Sign the petition to President Obama here.