Norwalk Common Council to feds: Stop that!

Councilman David McCarthy (R-District E)

Councilman David McCarthy (R-District E)

NORWALK, Conn. – A message is on the way to the state and the feds, courtesy of the Norwalk Common Council, led by Councilman David McCarthy (R-District E).

The Council on Tuesday unanimously approved McCarthy’s resolution against the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics on livestock. Councilman Bruce Kimmel (D-At Large) said it is good idea to weigh in, and Missy Conrad, the only member of the public to address the Council, commended McCarthy for the “fine proposal.”

“We the people must tell the legislators… what we want to help them focus,” Conrad said. “This year it is reported that India does not have one major city with a clean water supply. People there buy and use their antibiotics indiscriminately, no prescription required. This sets the stage for the growth of super germs. This is unsafe for all of this on this one Planet Earth.”

McCarthy said Council members had gotten 12 to 15 emails on the topic.

“Unfortunately some farms give animals low doses of antibiotics to compensate for the overcrowded and filthy conditions that lead to disease,” McCarthy said.

This “creates the perfect stew for bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics to spread,” putting everyone at risk, McCarthy said.

You can vote with your pocketbook, he said. Stew Leonard’s has a line of “naked meats,” which do not contain any antibiotics, he said, making note that this was basically an ad for the employer of Majority Leader Doug Hempstead (R-At Large).

McDonald’s, Costco and Chick Fil-A have all announced that they will stop selling chicken that comes from a farm using antibiotics non-therapeutically, he said.

“I think this is sort of a grass roots effort,” McCarthy said.

“It’s a good idea for local legislative bodies like the Norwalk Common Council to weigh in on these issues,” Kimmel said. “It does have an impact nationally when there’s hundreds and hundreds of local governments saying stop doing something. So even though it’s one resolution, it has more of an impact than we realize.”

Council President Jerry Petrini (R-District D) seconded that thought.

“Some people are probably wondering, ‘What is this doing at the city level?’ But this is where everything should start, at the city level, and work its way up,” Petrini said.

Whereas, McCarthy’s resolution says it all:

  • Whereas, eighty percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States are used in livestock production, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that livestock thereby become a reservoir of resistant pathogens and resistance mechanisms; and
  • Whereas, low doses of antibiotics are routinely fed to livestock for disease prevention in a practice known as “non-therapeutic use”; and
  • Whereas, “non-therapeutic use” creates ideal conditions for the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria; and
  • Whereas, antibiotic resistant bacteria on livestock operations are known to spread to retail meat, farmers and farm-workers, and rural environments; and
  • Whereas, antibiotic resistance in pathogens due to non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock production has been a public health concern since the 1960s; and
  • Whereas, antibiotic resistant bacteria have been the cause of several food borne illness outbreaks, including a 2011 outbreak of antibiotic resistant Salmonella in ground turkey that sickened 136 people, hospitalized 37, and killed one and lead to the third largest meat recall in the USDA’s records and a 2013 outbreak of antibiotic resistant Salmonella in chicken that sickened 416 people and hospitalized 162;
  • Whereas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that at least two million Americans suffer from antibiotic resistant bacterial infections each year and twenty-three thousand Americans die from those infections; and
  • Whereas, the medical and social costs of antibiotic-resistance infections in just one hospital for one year have been estimated to be between $13 million and $18 million; and
  • Whereas, the federal government has limited non-therapeutic uses of two classes of antibiotics, but otherwise largely relied on voluntary guidance to attempt to reduce overuse of antibiotics in livestock production, despite regular acknowledgements that non-therapeutic use and the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria poses a significant public health threat; and
  • NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the Common Council of the City of Norwalk, support a statewide and national ban on non-therapeutic uses of antibiotics in livestock production; and,
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Common Council of the City of Norwalk will send a letter to our State Representatives, Congressional Representative and U.S. Senators calling for a ban on the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock agriculture.

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