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World Opinion: Congress and antibiotics in animals consumed by humans:

An excerpt from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States:

The Associated Press

Congress and antibiotics in animals consumed by humans:

Congress should pass proposed legislation that would strongly regulate what has become al-most indiscriminate use of antibiotics in healthy chickens, pigs and cattle not to fight disease, but to promote the animals' growth. ...

Medical officials fear that widespread use of antibiotics in animals consumed by humans in-cluding many classes of the drugs considered important for fighting disease in people is con-tributing to the alarming rise of antibiotic-resistant infections. ...

The legislation would ban the use in animals of seven classes of antibiotics considered impor-tant to human health. And it would require that their use be restricted primarily to fighting actual diseases, along with selected preventive uses, and that they be used only under supervi-sion of a veterinarian. ...

Opponents contend there isn't enough proof to link widespread use of antibiotics on animals to the increase in drug-resistant infections. It reminds us of the decades of arguments by to-bacco companies against regulation of smoking.

And we understand the farm lobby's opposition to controlling use of antibiotics.

There's no question that it makes food cheaper, and boosts profits.

But while cheaper food is welcomed by consumers, it is not good public health policy to ig-nore the real costs of using powerful medicines to hold down costs when the associated health risk could cost those same consumers far more.

-- Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal