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Resolutions & Amendments

39th International Convention - Boston, MA (2010)

Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009

Resolution No. 17
39th International Convention
Boston Covention & Exhibition Center
June 28 - July 2, 2010
Boston, MA


The use of low doses of human antibiotics in factory farms, given routinely to perfectly healthy farm animals, is a major cause of antibiotic resistance, diminishing the efficacy of antibiotics for human use, creating a growing public health threat of antibiotic resistance. These antibiotics, vital to protecting human health for everything from skin infections to salmonella to bacterial pneumonia, should always be administered judiciously since any use diminishes the effectiveness of the drugs; and

 Up to 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are routinely used on industrial farms, with little veterinary or government oversight of their use in food animal production, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. They are typically pre-mixed in the feed and given daily to poultry and livestock. While bacteria are killed through the proper use of antibiotics, improper use on the farm allows bacteria to become resistant and left to grow and multiply, promoting the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can spread to humans. Antibiotic resistance is one of the most overlooked threats to human health today; and

 Efforts made in the past five years to educate patients and doctors about the prudent use of antibiotics, including the importance of prescribing them only for bacterial infections and of taking the entire course of the drug, have resulted in significant improvement in treatment of humans; and

 About two million people acquire bacterial infections in U.S. hospitals each year, and 90,000 die as a result, with projections moving in the wrong direction--toward more infections and more suffering. Researchers estimate that antibiotic-resistant bacteria generate $16.6 billion to $26 billion per year in extra costs to the United States health care system; and
 Leading health organizations, including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association and the World Health Organization, support eliminating the routine use of antibiotics in food animal production in order to protect human health.

 That the delegates to this 39th International Convention of AFSCME assembled in Boston, Massachusetts, June 28, 2010 - July 2, 2010, go on record as supporting the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009 (PAMTA - H.R 1549/S.619), introduced in spring 2009, which would withdraw the routine use of seven classes of antibiotics vitally important to human health from use on farms unless animals or herds are sick with disease; and

That a copy of this resolution be sent to the current and next congressional delegation.
Mary M. Goulding, President and Delegate
 Richard C. Badger, Executive Director and Delegate
 AFSCME Council 40