The president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has expressed concern about Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s recent comments suggesting antimicrobial use in food animals should be limited.

“We were pleased to learn that your comments do not signify a change in USDA policy on this critical issue,”
 notes Rene Carlson. “The AVMA strongly supports the judicious use of antibiotics in food-producing animals. This includes the administration of antibiotics for treatment, control and prevention of animal diseases to promote food safety as well as assure the health and well-being of food-producing animals.”

The AVMA leader went on to say in a recent letter to Vilsack that the organization is collaborating with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in developing training modules for the new veterinary accreditation program, including one module specifically addressing the judicious use of antimicrobials in food animals.

Carlson says AVMA continues to work with the Food and Drug Administration to increase veterinary medical oversight of antimicrobial use in animals to ensure  appropriate availability of those drugs to protect public and animal health.

“To restrict certain uses of antibiotics without careful consideration of the risks and benefits to both humans and animals removes a very valuable tool in the veterinarian’s medical bag for preventing and minimizing animal disease and suffering while also ensuring a safe and wholesome food supply.”