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Yesterday, with leading medical authorities warning that public health is threatened by a “post-antibiotic future”, and the support of some of the state’s leading medical organizations, a panel of state senators advanced legislation [pdf] to curtail the overuse of antibiotics on Oregon farm animals. Yesterday was the legislative deadline for the bill, SB 920, to clear the Senate Committee on Health Care, ensuring the proposal stays alive for now. The bill’s next stop will be the Senate Committee on Rules.
SB 920 is supported by leading medical, consumer and farming organizations such as the Oregon Health and Science University, Oregon Medical Association, Oregon Pediatric Society, Oregon Nurses Association, Consumers Union: the policy and action arm of Consumer Reports, and Friends of Family Farmers. Representatives of these organizations, as well as scores of doctors, farmers and veterinarians testified in support of the measure in Salem earlier this month.
Small and medium-sized farmers in particular have come out in support of SB 920. Last month, over 100 farmers affiliated with Friends of Family Farmers came to Salem and visited lawmakers’ offices in support of SB 920, among other issues. One of them was Mike Guebert, owner of Terra Farma in Corbett, who criticized the federal government’s anemic response to the issue and called on Oregon to take decisive action (Link to Mr. Guebert’s written testimony, and that of Scio farmer Kendra Kimbirauskas, Yamhill farmer Chrissie Manion Zaerpoor, and Oregon City farmer Nathan Moomaw.
“We would never feed a schoolroom of children daily doses of antibiotics just to keep them from getting sick,” said OSPIRG executive director Dave Rosenfeld, “The science says that we should not do it on animals either; yet it happens every day, with the consent of the federal government, creating a major public health risk. That’s why Oregon needs SB 920.”
For more background on the issue and legislation, including a discussion of some of the issues raised by opponents of SB 920, see OSPIRG’s written testimony on SB 920.
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