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Dear President Obama,
As a coalition of health, medical, and food groups, we are deeply concerned about the threat to public health caused by the widespread overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. We strongly urge you to direct the Food and Drug Administration to ban the practice of regularly giving antibiotics to healthy animals.
Antibiotics are meant to be given in precise doses to treat specific types of infections. However, the largest users of antibiotics are actually factory farming operations, which routinely mix huge quantities of antibiotics into the feed they give healthy animals. Over 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are used on livestock. This practice increases the likelihood that all kinds of bacteria, including the ones that make people sick, will become resistant to drugs, and our life-saving medicines won't work.
This problem is both significant and worsening. Sixty percent of staph infections in hospitals are now resistant to antibiotics, up from 2 percent thirty years ago. In all, more than 2 million Americans get sick from antibiotic-resistant infections each year, and 23,000 people die.
We stand to lose antibiotics as a critical tool to treat patients and save lives. Please ban the widespread overuse of antibiotics on factory farms.
Illinois Public Interest Research Group
Illinois Public Health Association
MRSA Survivors Network
Food & Water Watch Illinois
National Nurses Association
Sarah Lovinger, MD
Director, Chicago Physicians for Social Responsibility
University of Chicago MRSA Research Center
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital Antimicrobial Stewardship Program
STOP Foodborne Illness
Illinois Farmers Union
Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition
Illinois Right to Know GMO
Southeast Environmental Task Force
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