Victory on antibiotics

By Emily Scarr
State Director

The Keep Antibiotics Effective Act has gone into law, making Maryland the second state in the country (after California) to meaningfully address the widespread overuse of antibiotics in livestock and poultry

This is a huge win for public health, and we couldn't have done it without our members and support from the public.

The bill passed with strong bipartisan support, but went ito law without a signature from Governor Hogan.

For 3 years you've helped us build the political power we needed to stop the overuse of antibiotics on Maryland farms. You've helped by making contributions, coming to our events, contacting your legislators, and turning up in Annapolis to speak with them one on one.

I am disappointed Governor Hogan did not sign this important bill, but I am so proud of our members and dozens of coalition partners who joined together for this public health victory.

Approximately 70% of human-use antibiotics distributed in the U.S. are sold for use on animals. These drugs are routinely given to animals that are not sick to compensate for crowded, unsanitary conditions. Public health experts say this practice can fuel the spread of drug resistant bacteria which make their way off of farms and into our communities.

The pharmaceutical industry and industrial farming operations opposed the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act, but with your support we won. The new law will reduce misuse by limiting antibiotic use to treat sick animals or to control a verified disease outbreak. We applaud Senator Paul Pinsky, Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, and Delegate Shane Robinson for leading the fight to pass this important law.

Maryland has set a strong example for other states, retailers, and producers to follow to restrict use of antibiotics on farms.

Farmers have until Jan. 1, 2018, to comply with the law. We will be watching the Hogan Administration to make sure it is properly implemented to protect public health in Maryland.

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