Help stop antibiotic misuse on factory farms!

Food and Water Watch recently launched their Healthy Farms, Healthy Families campaign to end antibiotic misuse. They are calling on specific cities to pass city-wide resolutions urging Congress to take action on this issue. Madison is the latest city in which they're working.

You can help by signing the online petition to support this work in Madison. Ask the city council to pass the resolution urging Congress to ban the misuse of antibiotics on factory farms!

What's the issue?

Antibiotics are for saving lives, not for saving factory farm profits

Antibiotic resistance is coming to be a serious public health crisis right now in the U.S. Last fall, the Center for Disease Control reported that two million Americans contact antibiotic resistant infections, and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result. Antibiotics are a foundation of modern medicine that we all take for granted, but it's clear that if don’t act now, antibiotics may not work for us the next time we get sick.

There are several different reasons why these lifesaving drugs are losing their effectiveness, and a major one is overuse. While most people are aware that antibiotics are over-prescribed in humans, few realize that the vast majority of antibiotics in the U.S. are used in industrial agriculture.

Right now, 80 percent of the antibiotics used in the U.S. are used for raising livestock. These drugs are routinely fed to animals that aren’t even sick to make them grow faster and to compensate for filthy living conditions. This type of routine use of these drugs creates a perfect breeding ground for bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, many of which are the same drugs we rely on to treat infections in people. The antibiotic-resistant bacteria that develop on factory farms can spread throughout our environment and the food supply, putting us all at risk whether or not we eat meat, and regardless of where we live.

To make matters worse, regulators don’t even collect basic data about antibiotics used on factory farms, let alone effectively regulate how these critical drugs are used. This lack of information and monitoring is a serious threat to the usefulness of antibiotics in the treatment of infections, and the Food and Drug Administration’s voluntary efforts are simply not enough to protect the effectiveness of antibiotics in human medicine.

The fact that nothing is being done to protect antibiotics, despite scientific consensus about the severity of the problem, is a political issue, which is why we need legislation to save antibiotics and stop their misuse on factory farms now. There are two bills in Congress that would ensure antibiotics are only given to animals when they’re sick: Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act (PARA,  S. 1256) in the Senate, and Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA, H.R. 1150) in the House.

But we know that we have to demonstrate overwhelming public support for them to be passed.

That’s why Food and Water Watch launched their Healthy Farms, Healthy Families campaign in cities across the country this spring, with the goal of passing the first seven city-wide resolutions urging Congress to take action on this important issue. In February, Providence, Rhode Island became the first city to pass this historic resolution, with several other cities poised to follow close behind.

In Madison, Wisconsin, the movement is clearly gaining momentum and making significant steps toward landing on the desk of our city council. With over 500 petitions, 75 photo petitions, and a growing coalition that 22 local health professionals, farmers, and organizations have already signed on to, it’s clear that Madison citizens want our elected officials to step up to the plate for our public health and ban the misuse of antibiotics on factory farms. The campaign, comprised of dedicated community members, is planning big steps in the upcoming months, including presenting the resolution to the city council and hosting a large public forum on public health and our food system. Though we are making progress, we cannot win without demonstrating the overwhelming public support.

You can help!

Sign the online petition asking the Madison city council to pass the resolution urging Congress to ban the misuse of antibiotics on factory farms!