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February 13, 2017
Antibiotic resistance isn’t an easy thing to understand. You probably know not to take antibiotics for a virus, like a common cold. But, did you know that scientists are concerned that the effectiveness of antibiotics we use to treat infections in humans is diminishing?
It’s in part because bacteria are pretty adaptive. When bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, they change and build up resistance. In Nevada last fall, a woman was treated with 26 different antibiotics for a hip infection. Unfortunately, she died when none of them worked.
Scientists worry that we are looking toward a future similar to our past — a time before antibiotics were discovered. One of the reasons is the routine, sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in the agriculture sector — where up to 70 percent of antibiotics are sold in the U.S.
That is why the Maryland Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working, a coalition of partners that includes Fair Farms, is supporting legislation in the Maryland General Assembly to limit the use of medically-important antibiotics in farm animals that are not sick. Farmers could still use these antibiotics to treat sick animals, for medical procedures, or for disease control.
What we’re proposing isn’t revolutionary. Maryland-based Perdue Farms already made the decision to go antibiotic-free. Tyson, another big poultry company, has vowed to do the same for its poultry. Restaurants like Panera, Elevation Burger, McDonalds, Subway, Starbucks and others have agreed to phase-outs. This is because consumers like us are demanding healthy, sustainable, and responsibly-raised meats from farmers, markets and grocers.
Public health professionals are clear that if we are going to keep antibiotics effective, and keep our families and our communities healthy, we have to make sure they are used responsibly.
Please let your legislator know you support this legislation! Take the action here.