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Congress considers banning antibiotics in livestock

The New York Times is reporting that Baltimore's own Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, now the principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs, is pushing to tack onto the health bill in Congress a provision to restrict antibiotics in livestock.

Antibiotic is used commonly in livestock to promote growth and cut down on illnesses. But Sharfstein says the use in cows, pigs and chickens leads to treatment resistent bacteria in humans. Farmers shouldn't be able to use them without supervision from a veterinarian, he said.

There was a hearing yesterday on the proposal by Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., and chairwoman of the Rules Committee. Her measure would ban seven classes of antibiotics important to human health from being used in animals, according to the Times. Other antibiotics would be resticted to therapeutic uses and some prevention uses.

Prospects for the proposal weren't totally clear. Though some supporters, including the American Medical Association and the Pew Environment Group, say they are improving.

Seem like a good move?

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