Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) has introduced a bill to phase out “the routine feeding of medically important antibiotics to healthy farm animals.” The legislation is known as “The Preservation of Antibiotics for Human Treatment Act of 2002.” The Senate bill is similar to one already filed in the House (H.R. 3804) that carries bipartisan support as well as endorsements from the American Medical Association and other groups.

The Keep Antibiotics Working campaign, the American Public Health Association and the Center for Science in the Public Interest and other groups have stepped forward to endorse the Kennedy bill.

The bill’s introduction in the Senate coincides with a recent report from the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, that concludes antibiotic use in farm animals “contributes to the growing (antibiotic resistance) problem in humans…” and among other things “limits treatment options.”

The report provides no detailed scientific evidence connecting antibiotic use in food-animal production and potential antibiotic resistance in humans. It does, however, carry comments and references from a variety of medical doctors and scientists, giving it a sense of validity.

“The science is clear, and the time for action is now,” states Tamar Barlam, M.D., an infectious disease physician at CSPI and former Harvard Medical School facility member., news releases.