Bill to curb agricultural use of antibiotics passes State Assembly

Posted at 4:01 PM, Apr 04, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland State Assembly successfully passed a bill first proposed in 2017 restricting the use of antibiotics in farm animals that are not sick and enforcing the collection of data about antibiotic use at farms, the Maryland Public Interest Research Group celebrated in a statement Thursday.

“Antibiotics are our last defense against life threatening infections,” said Dr. Pat McLaine, a registered nurse and member of the Maryland Nurses Association. “We must protect our precious antibiotics for times when they are needed most: sickness and surgery.”

The Keep Antibioitics Effective Act, introduced by Senators Paul Pinksy and Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, aimed to curb the overuse of antibiotics and its contributing effects on antibiotic-resistant bacteria, MPIRG said. About 2/3s of the antibiotics sold in the United States are used in animal agriculture. Limiting the routine agricultural use of antibiotics has been noted by the World Health Organization and other leading health groups as a key to fighting the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria around the world.

“To keep our miracle drugs working when people and animals need them, we have to stop squandering them on livestock that are not sick,” said Mae Wu, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “This bill will help make Maryland a leader in the fight against the growing epidemic of drug-resistant infections.”