The abuses of the farm animal production industry are well-documented, from restrictive cages to the overuse of antibiotics to environmental degradation. Lesser known is that under the Obama administration, these “unsavory industry practices” have flourished. Fingering Congress and other regulatory authorities, a new report issued Tuesday by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF), slams the administration for the perpetuation of these conditions as well as the misleading legislation that has enabled them to do so.
The report, Industrial Food Animal Production in America: Examining the Impact of the Pew Commission’s Priority Recommendations, is a follow-up five years after a Pew Commission issued a series of recommendations to address the detrimental impact of industrial food animal production (IFAP) on public, animal, and environmental health.
“There has been an appalling lack of progress,” said Robert S. Lawrence, MD, director of CLF. “The failure to act by the USDA and FDA, the lack of action or concern by the Congress, and continued intransigence of the animal agriculture industry have made all of our problems worse.”
Half of the 24 recommendations made by the April 2008 panel fell under the umbrella of public health concerns with five of those dealing with antimicrobial use in livestock, which has gross consequences for the efficacy of antibiotics in humans. The FDA estimates that 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in this country are fed to food animals.
According to the report, Congress has killed every effort to legislate a ban on feeding farm animals antibiotics that are important in human medicine. As Reuters explains:
“This means that while antimicrobial approvals may change… antimicrobial use may not,” notes the report.
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