Target: U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann
Goal: Ensure better meat safety by demanding government and pharmaceutical transparency on the drugs given to grocery store-bound livestock
A recent decision by the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals allows the continued use of antibiotics in farm animals, regardless of health risks. The 2-1 decision overturns a 2012 ruling of the lower courts, which required the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine the safety of certain drugs for non-medical use. If the drug was deemed unsafe by the FDA, a hearing would be held in which the pharmaceutical company would have to prove the drug’s safety to be granted approval for its use. The court of appeals, however, believes it is for the FDA to decide whether it is doing its job and not the citizens and consumer advocacy groups who believe the administration is not doing enough to ensure meat safety.
The ruling allows the FDA to reject two 2011 citizen petitions calling to ban the use of penicillin and tetracycline in livestock, as well as the original ruling challenging the FDA’s lenience towards livestock antibiotics. The only current policy to safeguard the misuse of the drugs in grocery-bound livestock is voluntary disclosure by pharmaceutical companies of their drugs’ dangers.
A 2013 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than two million people in the U.S. become infected by antibiotic resistant bacteria and over 23,000 die from such infections every year. Sadly, the FDA has known since 1977 that the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock feed is unsafe. The 37-year-old report states, “Animals that have received either subtherapeutic and/or therapeutic amounts of sulfonamide drugs in feeds may serve as a reservoir of antibiotic resistant pathogens and non-pathogens. These reservoirs of pathogens can produce human infections.”
Condemn the court’s decision to allow the FDA’s continued approval of dangerous drugs in livestock feed.
Dear Judge Katzmann,
The increase of superbugs—antibiotic-resistant bacteria—in humans has been attributed to the use of antibiotics in healthy livestock. In fact, the FDA reported in 1977 on the dangers of the overuse of certain drugs already used in feed. Despite the dangers these drugs present, and the 37-year stall on banning them, the U.S. Court of Appeals made the decision to continue allowing the FDA to approve the use of antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline to promote growth and control infection in living conditions which encourage infection.
This decision shows little resolve in the fight against the steady increase of superbugs and deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections. I condemn the continued trust in the FDA’s ability to protect U.S. citizens from exposure to high levels of antibiotics.
[Your Name Here]
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