U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce made the remarks during a subcommittee hearing titled "Antibiotic Resistance and the Use of Antibiotics in Animal Agriculture." Lawmakers heard testimony from six veterinary experts, the agricultural industry, public health and human medicine yesterday.
"As we will hear today, animals raised for food production are routinely provided antibiotics to prevent infections. In stark contrast to animals, we would be shocked if a pediatrician ever ordered antibiotics for an entire nursery school class to keep the children form being infected with strep throat. But in this country, that is standard practice for a barnyard full of pigs, or cows, or chickens."
"There seems to be universal agreement on yet another point: They key to reducing antibiotic resistance." Waxman called on policymakers and stakeholders, including veterinary medicine, to develop a comprehensive, science-based strategy "designed to safeguard the vitally important public health tool that is our antibiotics. We must move expeditiously to slow the advancement of antibiotic resistance in both humans and animals," Waxman adds.
The hearing included testimony from six veterinarians, including:
-Joshua Sharfstein, MD, principal deputy commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services
-John Clifford, DVM, deputy administrator, Veterinary Services, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Department of Agriculture
-Rear Admiral Ali S. Khan, MD, MPH, assistant surgeon general and acting deputy director, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services
-Per Henriksen, DVM, PhD, head, Division for Chemical Food Safety, Animal Welfare, and Veterinary Medicinal Products, Danish Veterinary and Food Administration
-Dr. James R. Johnson, MD, professor of medicine, University of Minnesota, Fellow, Infectious Diseases Society of America
-Gail R. Hansen, DVM, MPH, senior officer, Human Health and Industrial Farming Group, Pew Charitable Trusts -Christine Hoang, DVM, MPH, CPH, assistant director, Scientific Activities Division, American Veterinary Medical Association
-Randall Singer, DVM, MPVM, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
-Richard Carnevale, DVM, vice president, Regulatory, Scientific, and International Affairs, Animal Health Institute
-Stuart Levy, MD, professor of molecular and microbiology, professor of medicine, Tufts University.