AVMA report to congress disputes Pew Commission study
By Drovers news source (8/17/2009)
The nation’s largest veterinary association released to Congress a scientific response that disputes several of the findings and recommendations made in a report released last year by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production.
In a letter sent with the AVMA’s response to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, Dr. Ron DeHaven, CEO of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), expressed concerns about the Pew Commission’s report and urged members to vote against H.R. 1549 and S. 619, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) as they are written. The Pew Commission’s findings and recommendations are being used to advocate for PAMTA.
According to the letter to Congress, “The AVMA is the recognized national voice for the veterinary profession. Our more than 78,000 members represent approximately 86% of U.S. veterinarians, all of whom are involved in a myriad of areas of veterinary medical practice including private, corporate, academic, industrial, governmental, military, and public health services. It is with this authority that we question the methods and outcomes of the Pew Commission’s report on Industrial Farm Animal Production.”
The AVMA’s response raises issue with the scientific validity of several critical areas of the Pew Commission’s report. Key findings from the AVMA’s response include:
• The Pew Commission’s process for gaining technical expertise in the Pew technical reports was biased and did not incorporate the findings and suggestions of a significant number of participating academicians.
• Points in the Pew report that address antimicrobial resistance, the environment and animal welfare were determined to be the most pertinent to veterinary medicine. In these areas, the AVMA asserts that many of the Pew Commission’s sub-points have significant shortfalls and lack information as to how the Commission would execute a new plan or program.
• The Pew Commission’s recommendations for highly restrictive bans on antibiotic use, which are also being used to advocate for PAMTA, have not been proven beneficial to public health. When Denmark and the Netherlands made an attempt to implement less restrictive bans on antibiotics than those recommended by Pew, they found that even a small decrease in antibiotic use severely diminished animal health and welfare without significantly improving human health.