Organic certification prohibits antibiotic use, but raising such animals is costly, he said.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, first introduced legislation in 1980 to restrict antibiotic use in livestock. For the past decade, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., has introduced similar bills, joined in recent years by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., but the measures have gone nowhere.
"We constantly hear from the pharmaceutical and livestock industry that antibiotic use in livestock is not a problem and we should focus on human use," said Avinash Kar, a staff attorney at the San Francisco office of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group that has sued the FDA to force it to ban using antibiotics to promote growth in livestock. The case is now pending before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.