Get ready for another round of scrutiny about the use of antibiotics in food-production animals.

The Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming has launched "Moms for Antibiotic Awareness," a grassroots movement of moms working to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for their children and families.

The campaign also released the results of an online poll of 804 American mothers who are registered voters and have children aged 16 or younger. Eighty percent of the respondents were concerned about giving antibiotics to animals that are being produced for meat and poultry, with 42 percent saying they are "very concerned" about this practice, according to a press release from the campaign.

"Seven years ago, my one-and-a-half-year-old son, Simon, died from an infection because the antibiotics we relied on had become useless," says Everly Macario, founder of the MRSA Research Center at the University of Chicago and one of the first mothers to join Moms for Antibiotic Awareness. "Simon's death sounded an alarm that my fellow moms across this country need to hear: antibiotics are increasingly ineffective against life-threatening infections, and the lives of our children and loved ones are at stake. I am asking my fellow moms and their family members to honor Mother's Day by visiting and joining Moms for Antibiotic Awareness."

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testified before Congress that there was a definitive link between the non-therapeutic uses of antibiotics on industrial farms and the crisis of antibiotic resistance in humans.

"We need to preserve antibiotics for sick children, not healthy animals," said Laura Rogers, project director of the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming. "The FDA and Congress must ensure these medicines continue to work-and no group is better suited than moms to propel these institutions to restrict injudicious use of antibiotics in food animal production."

More than three-quarters of moms polled favor-and more than half "strongly favor"-federal regulations that would:

  • Allow antibiotics to be used for treating sick animals, but eliminate the use of antibiotics to promote growth.
  • Require food animal producers to submit annual reports to the FDA showing the amount and purpose of antibiotics used on their farms.
  • Require that any antibiotics used in treating food animals be prescribed and administered to the animals only by order of a veterinarian.

"From the halls of Congress to the aisles of my local supermarket, I am going to let my voice be heard," says Macario. "Using the tools that Moms for Antibiotics Awareness is giving me, I will tell the FDA, my elected representatives and the retailers where I buy meat and poultry that if they want my support as a taxpayer, a voter and a customer, they must take action to end the overuse of antibiotics on industrial farms. I hope other moms will do the same."

The online poll was conducted by polling firms Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and was commissioned by the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming. The results are available at  

Source: Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming