Task force to tackle antibiotic resistance in agriculture

The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) recently announced the creation of the Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture.

The task force is comprised of representatives from U.S. agriculture colleges/land-grant universities and veterinary colleges as well as key representatives from the production animal agriculture community and the pharmaceutical industry. The goal of the task force is to help advise the federal government on a research agenda and also help publicly disseminate information on the use of antibiotics in production agriculture. Officials from key federal agencies are expected to serve as observers to the task force, and leaders from public universities in Mexico and Canada will serve as ex-officio members.

Scientists and the public have grown increasingly concerned about the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria in veterinary and human medicine. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have expressed serious concerns as well. Some bacteria have developed defenses against different classes of antibiotic compounds.

“We recognize antibiotic resistance as a public health challenge and look forward to collaborating with APLU and the federal government on this critical initiative,” said AAVMC Executive Director Andrew T. Maccabe, noting that many of the AAVMC’s member institutions are based at land-grant universities.

“This is an important collaborative effort,” APLU President Peter McPherson said. “The task force and its members are well-positioned to advise the Obama administration as they consider strategies to address the judicious use of antibiotics in production agriculture.”

Lonnie J. King, chair of the task force and dean of Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, said, “The task force will draw on the expertise of its members to serve as a knowledgeable and important source of advice for the federal government as it develops its plans. It can also make recommendations on further research that should be undertaken to develop alternative solutions for some antibiotic use in production agriculture.”—APLU News

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