The Animal Agriculture Alliance joined 15 other agricultural organizations Thursday in submitting a letter to Congress in response to the recent Consumers Union report on the use of antibiotics in animal production. Read the full letter here.

The coalition wrote: "We strongly believe consumers deserve a choice when it comes to their meat and poultry purchases. However, consumers can make an informed choice through balanced information about the challenges, benefits and realities of the various approaches to raising and processing livestock and poultry. We do not believe it serves the consumer to stigmatize certain production systems to boost others."

Other organizations that signed on to the letter include the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Feed Industry Association, American Meat Institute, American Veterinary Medical Association, Animal Health Institute, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Grain and Feed Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation, the North American Meat Association and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.

The Alliance previously addressed the Consumers Union report in a blog post dated June 26. Additional resources explaining the role that antibiotics and other animal health products play in producing safe food can be found on the Alliance's Web site http://animalagalliance.org.

Additionally, on July 5, the Alliance sent a letter to the editor in response to a July 1 Washington Post editorial that oversimplified the complex problem of antibiotic resistance. Read the full letter here.

Alliance President and CEO Kay Johnson Smith wrote:
Calling for ‘Meat Without Drugs’ to eliminate the use of antibiotics in farm animals may sound like a good idea, but the very title is misleading and inflammatory. Our meat and poultry supply is already ‘without drugs.’ When farm animals are sometimes treated to prevent or control disease, a strict withdrawal period is followed to ensure that the end products are safe.

"The claim that 80% of antibiotics are used on farm animals is unsubstantiated. Fully 40% of animal antibiotics are compounds not used in human medicine. The Food and Drug Administration has initiated a process ensuring that all medically-important antibiotics will be administered under the supervision of a veterinarian and only for therapeutic purposes.”

The Alliance supports the responsible use of antibiotics by farmers and ranchers in order to maintain the health of their animals and to continue to provide the American consumer with high-quality food products.