Animal Protection Organizations Host Congressional Briefing on Animal Welfare and Use of Antibiotics in Livestock Production

Monday, July 23, 2012

WHAT:                    
A briefing for Members of Congress and their staff on the need to pass the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), hosted by the Animal Welfare Institute, the ASPCA, and The Humane Society of the United States. A veterinarian and farmers will discuss the negative impacts of the misuse of antibiotics on animals and the need for action.

WHO:          
Michael Blackwell, DVM, MPH:
Previously dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee; deputy director for the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine; vice chair of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production; chief of staff of the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States; and a veterinarian in private practice, Blackwell is president and CEO of Blackwell Consulting, LLC and administrator of the Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville, Tenn.

Will Witherspoon: Linebacker for the Tennessee Titans. Witherspoon raises grass-fed cattle at the Shire Gate Farm, an Animal Welfare Approved certified farm, using sustainable techniques that nearly eliminate the need for antibiotics.

Frank Reese: Raises heritage poultry on pasture in Kansas as part of the Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch cooperative. Reese does not administer sub-therapeutic antibiotics.

WHEN:                    
Tuesday, July 24, 2012; 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

WHERE:                             
The United States Capitol Visitor Center
Meeting Room South
East Capitol Street, NE and 1st Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Background:  
An estimated 80 percent of all antimicrobials sold in the United States today are being used to counteract the consequences of confining farm animals in overcrowded, stressful and unsanitary conditions, as well as to speed the animals’ growth. A direct link has been demonstrated between this use and the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria “superbugs” that affect the health of both animals and people.

The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) was introduced in the House by Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., Congress’s only microbiologist, and in the Senate by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Susan Collins, R-Maine. PAMTA would phase out the routine non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in farm animals to promote growth and prevent diseases associated with poor animal husbandry systems, in order to maintain the effectiveness of these drugs for treating sick people and animals.

Honorary Hosts: Reps. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.

Media Contacts:

The Animal Welfare Institute is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 to alleviate the suffering caused to animals by humans. For more information, please visit AWI online at http://www.awionline.org/. Also, be sure to follow AWI on Facebook and Twitter.

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.