In testimony last week before the House Appropriations Committee's agriculture subcommittee, USDA Agricultural Research Service Administrator Dr. Edward Knipling said his department is conducting research on antibiotic use in livestock and antibiotic resistance. Knipling said that, while data suggests in some cases, there are problems and concerns, they also show that this is not as severe an issue as it might be otherwise portrayed.
The National Pork Producers Council says claims that pork producers are overusing antibiotics, which is leading to antibiotic resistance, has no basis in fact and no science behind them. NPPC points out that data from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, which does not gather antibiotic usage information, show resistance has been nearly unchanged for the past 10-15 years and that 2009 NARMS data on hogs show that antibiotic resistance is "low."
Dr. Howard Hill, a veterinarian who serves on the board of directors of the National Pork Producers Council, says pork producers use antibiotics responsibly, under the direction of a veterinarian, to protect public health and the health of their animals and to produce safe food.