Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) is asking the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for greater oversight of antibiotics used for farm animals. In a letter to FDA, Slaughter and other members are asking the FDA for progress on regulation and guidance under review, “The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals” and the “Veterinary Feed Directive.” The members said, “It is time to take action to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics. Every year, nearly two million Americans acquire bacterial infections during their hospital stay, and approximately 100,000 die from them; 70% of these infections are resistant to the drugs commonly used to treat them.” Congresswoman Slaughter has introduced the “Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act” (PAMTA) that would only allow for the use of antibiotics for treatment of animals when sick and not allow their use for growth promotion, prevention and control.

GIPSA Cost-Benefits Analysis Requested – Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, in a letter to the administrator of the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, asked him to commit to reviewing USDA’s proposed GIPSA rule on livestock marketing. Senator Roberts wrote, “Unfortunately, despite the rule’s far-reaching implications, neither USDA nor your office examined the costs or benefits of the measure to industry participants, the marketplace or consumers before the rule was proposed. A thorough review of the costs and benefits to all is necessary for the Administration, the Congress and the public to understand the impacts of USDA’s proposal.”

Groups Want Action on GIPSA Rule – A group of 190 agricultural, community, environmental and religious organizations sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to allow the USDA’s Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) to expeditiously implement the proposed rule on livestock marketing. The groups stated, “The proposed rule includes many common sense measures that protect farmers, growers and ranchers from abusive and unfair treatment at the hands of the meatpackers and poultry companies.” They asked Congress to stand with producers and “oppose the meatpacker and poultry special interest efforts to insulate themselves from federal scrutiny of their anticompetitive behavior and unfair treatment of farmers and ranchers.” Those signing the letter included: American Agriculture Movement, Center for Rural Affairs, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, National Farmers Organization, National Farmers Union, National Organic Coalition, R-CALF USA and Western Organization of Resource Councils.

Help Identify Trade Barriers – U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is asking for comments to assist it in identifying significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods, services, and U.S. foreign direct investment for inclusion in the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers. Comments are due Oct. 4. The Federal Register notice on this request for comments can be found at: www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2011-20481_PI.pdf

P. Scott Shearer
Vice President
Bockorny Group
Washington, D.C.