Seattle may join several other cities in a campaign calling for a federal ban on the misuse of antibiotics on factory farms. A resolution on the issue has passed out of committee, and will be considered by the full council on Monday.
The resolution calls for an end to routine feeding of antibiotics to animals, which critics say is leading to drug-resistant superbugs that harm human health.
The Seattle City Council took up the issue after receiving hundreds of emails and more than a thousand signed petitions from a group called Food and Water Watch. Organizer Eva Resnick-Day says there’s a clear connection between the routine feeding of antibiotics to animals raised on factory farms and a rise in resistance to the drugs.
‘So if an animal gets sick, you can go to the veterinarian and get a prescription and take care of that animal. But we don’t think that we should be feeding all of our animals low doses of antibiotics in every meal, regardless of whether they are sick,” Resnick-Day told the committee.
She says the measure echoes federal legislation that has been languishing in committee, and also calls on Congress to pass laws that would prevent the misuse of antibiotics.
At the city council hearing, organic food advocates turned out in force to make a case for the proposals, arguing the market for drug-free meat is growing. Two survivors of antibiotic-resistant infections told their stories, while representatives of the Cattlemens’ and Cattle Feeders Associations urged caution.
If approved by the full council, the resolution would make Seattle the first city in the Northwest to urge the ban, which is supported by four East Coast cities: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Providence, R.I. and Red Hook, N.J.
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control estimated that more than 2 million people suffer from antibiotic-resistant infections each year, and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result.