March 2, 2019
In 2017, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act with broad, bipartisan support in order to stop the routine use of antibiotics in livestock who are not sick, a practice that contributes to the alarming rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The Maryland Dept. of Agriculture (MDA) waited a very long time to propose regulations that would implement the 2017 law. Unfortunately, the regulations fail to achieve the law’s basic intent — to prevent the routine, low-dose use of antibiotics in agriculture.
The Keep Antibiotics Effect Act of 2019 clarifies the law passed in 2017 and will:
– Allow limited antibiotic use to treat sick animals and control disease outbreaks
– Ban routine use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals
– Require monitoring to ensure the law is implemented successfully
Considering 64% of all human antibiotics sold in the U.S. are sold for livestock, the agriculture industry should have clear rules on when they can give antibiotics to animals responsibly. For example, when they are sick, as determined by a veterinarian, or when they are undergoing a surgery.
Please urge your lawmakers to support HB 652 and SB 471 to ensure that Maryland is doing its part to preserve antibiotics.