WASHINGTON — Recently proposed legislation to ban the use of antibiotics in livestock would compromise animal welfare practices, increase costs throughout the food chain and threaten public health, according to a pork industry trade group.

A bill introduced last week by Senator Edward Kennedy in the U.S. Senate would be detrimental to the health and well-being of pigs, would increase pork producers’ production costs and the price consumers pay for pork and could jeopardize public health, according to the National Pork Producers Council.

Senator Kennedy introduced legislation nearly identical to a bill sponsored by Representative Louise Slaughter that would ban the use in livestock of animal health products that prevent or control diseases.

"Both measures are irresponsible," said Don Butler, N.P.P.C president. "Pork producers are committed to maintaining the well-being of our animals, and we need access to a range of animal health products to keep our pigs healthy and, in turn, produce safe food products. These bills will prevent that, and we’ll see more pigs die and higher production costs, and that means consumers will pay more for pork."

"Pork producers have a moral obligation to use antibiotics responsibly to protect human health and provide safe food," said Jennifer Greiner, DVM, N.P.P.C. director of science and technology. "Producers also have an ethical obligation to maintain the health of their pigs, and antibiotics are an important tool to help us do that."

To post your comments on this story, click here: