UPDATE 1-Report slams continued antibiotic use in U.S. livestock

Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:27pm EDT
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* Panel calls for end of sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics

* Livestock industry decries report as sensationalism

* "We are running out of antibiotics" -expert

By Charles Abbott

WASHINGTON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - U.S. regulators and livestock producers have failed to curb the use of antibiotics in cattle, pigs and poultry despite concerns that excessive use in meat production will reduce the drugs' effectiveness in humans, a panel of experts said.

"Meaningful change is unlikely in the future," concluded the 14-member panel, assembled by Johns Hopkins University, in a report released on Tuesday that quickly drew protests from livestock industry groups.

The release marked the fifth anniversary of a landmark 2008 Pew Charitable Trust report that called for an end to the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics by livestock producers, as well as an end to practices such as tiny cages for laying hens.

Congressional hearings followed the release of that report, and the livestock industry went into damage control mode.

The Johns Hopkins' report said "additional scientific evidence has strengthened the case that these (non-therapeutic) uses pose unnecessary and unreasonable public health risks" of allowing bacteria to develop resistance to antibiotics.   Continued...