A new ad campaign calling for the elimination of certain animal health products that prevent disease in farm animals could lead to unnecessary pain and suffering, according to the Animal Agriculture Alliance. The series of ads were revealed in Washington, D.C. Metro stations and trains last week by the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming.

But the Animal Agriculture Alliance isn’t buying it. A statement released by the organization says that the Pew Campaign is using the guise that antibiotics used for disease prevention in farm animals enhances antibiotic resistance in human health, even without substantive evidence to back their claim. The Alliance contends that the campaign targeted at members of Congress and their staff is intended to drive policy changes on the use of animal medicines already approved under the stringent process of the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Farmers, ranchers and veterinarians take this issue very seriously. Nothing is more important to them than public health, animal health and well-being, and a safe food supply,” says Kay Johnson Smith, executive vice president of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. “They understand the need for prudent use of antibiotics and are committed to ensuring not only the health of their animals but the safety of the food products they produce. Nothing could be further from the truth than claims made by these ads.”

Most scientists note that improper use of antibiotics in human medicine is the greatest contributing factor in the formation of resistant bacteria affecting humans; not usage in animals like these ads claim. But to be on the safe side, the government, animal health industry, farmers and ranchers have implemented steps to ensure antibiotic use in food producing animals does not affect human health.

Meanwhile, unintended consequences can result when policy decisions about antibiotic use are not driven by science and risk assessment. “There is clear evidence today from Denmark and The Netherlands that the removal of antimicrobial growth promoters resulted in more animal death and disease, which in turn led to an increased use of antibiotics to treat animal disease, and little evidence that antibiotic resistant rates in humans decreased,” Animal Agriculture Alliance officials assert.

Read more on the Animal Agriculture Alliance.