December 16, 2013
Dustin Van Liew, Executive Director of the Public Lands Council and NCBA, talks about the Grazing Improvement Act and Federal Lands Ranching.
Posted by Beltway Beef at 11:52 AM
December 13, 2013
By Roger L. Saltman, DVM, MBAGroup Director, Cattle and Equine Technical Services
Yesterday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized Guidance #213, establishing procedures for voluntarily phasing out growth promotion claims for medically important antibiotics used in livestock. In addition, FDA published proposed changes to the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) regulation, which mandates the rules and responsibilities of licensed veterinarians in prescribing and administering medically important antibiotics in feed.
Taken together, Guidance #213 and the proposed VFD mean that, in the future, medically important antibiotic products may only be used for therapeutic purposes, at therapeutic doses and under the supervision of a veterinarian. As a veterinarian for 32 years and a consumer of animal products, I think this is the right decision. And Zoetis does too.
Zoetis is committed to responsible use of antimicrobial drugs in animals, and we support the FDA’s efforts to lead this voluntary phase-out of the use of medically important antibiotic products for growth promotion in food-producing animals.
Furthermore, we believe that veterinarians should be involved in decisions regarding antibiotic use in food animals – for the health of the animal and the safety of the food supply. Each and every day, producers, nutritionists and veterinarians are doing great things to care for our farm animals and provide the world’s safest food supply and we believe these changes provide clarity to efforts toward continuously improving on the great work being done.
The revisions to the VFD regulation will guide veterinarians, nutritionists and producers as they manage the health and welfare of their herds, which is important to those of us in the livestock industry and the consumers that rely on us. As outlined in Guidance #213, implementation of these changes will take place over three years and in conjunction with the finalization of the new VFD regulation. We are fully committed to supporting our producer, veterinary, nutritionist and feed customers by working with them to understand, and make a successful transition to, the new procedures outlined by the FDA.
Supporting Guidance #213 and the VFD revisions falls in line with our company-wide commitment to judicious use of antibiotics. Zoetis has been a leader in providing ongoing education to veterinarians, nutritionists and livestock producers on the proper use of antimicrobial drugs to treat, control and prevent infection and disease in livestock. With our work to prepare for and implement Guidance #213, we affirm our commitment to providing this important educational and training service.
Zoetis will continue to champion antibiotic stewardship and the appropriate use of our microbial products. This commitment is evident through our Residue-Free Guarantee, support of state Cattlemen’s College educational sessions, chute-side training and meetings with local producer groups, and initiatives like Individual Pig Care and Join the Cause that cover the pork and dairy industries, respectively. We are also able to provide local support through the veterinarians and nutritionists that comprise our Technical Services team and our extensive field force located across the United States.
As the new policies move forward, we remain committed to researching and developing new therapeutic products and strategies to help veterinarians treat illness in livestock and to help farmers and ranchers protect the health and wellness of their herds.
The FDA is inviting comments to the draft VFD by March 12, 2014. We will continue to be involved in helping to shape the final version of the VFD by sharing feedback on the proposed regulation. The opportunity to share comments on the version put forward by the FDA yesterday is not one that we can take lightly. We should, as an industry, weigh in and help provide insight on the impact, potential consequences and implementation of the VFD. For more information see the Federal Register.
One of our core beliefs at Zoetis is to always do the right thing – meaning integrity is a guiding principle for all of our decisions and relationships. We view the efforts to prepare for and implement Guidance #213 and the proposed VFD as part of our larger commitment to doing the right thing - for our customers, the animals they care for, and the consumers they feed.
Posted by Beltway Beef at 12:31 PM
December 3, 2013
November 25, 2013
By Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), like every other governmental institution, should answer to the American people. Everyone agrees that we need to protect the environment, but we should do so in a way that is open and honest. Democracy requires transparency and accountability.
Earlier this month, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified before the House Science Committee, which I chair, for the first time in her new position. The hearing provided me an opportunity to ask about what appears to be a troubling trend of rushed new rules to expand the agency’s regulatory reach across the U.S.
For example, I asked her about a new draft rule that could redefine EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. It expands the definition of “waters of the U.S.” to give the EPA unprecedented new authority over private property. And the agricultural sector would be particularly impacted.
An expansion of EPA’s regulatory power of this magnitude could give the agency control over almost all man-made and natural streams, lakes and ponds in the U.S. This clearly undermines states’ rights and increases federal control of private property. Few among us want to give the EPA the right to tell us what to do in our own backyards. It could give the EPA additional authority to get involved with decisions about how farmers manage their land.
Also, the EPA is rushing the approval process for this rule without thorough peer review of the supporting scientific data. This is a clear attempt to fast-track the approval process for a rule with far-reaching implications.
But perhaps the most worrisome examples of the agency’s disregard for transparency and accountability are found in the EPA’s clean air program. We all agree that ensuring clean air is essential, but the EPA has a responsibility to establish rules that balance our environmental concerns and our economic needs.
Nearly all of the Obama administration’s air quality regulations are justified on the basis of data that are hidden from the public. These regulations cost billions of dollars but the EPA claims that the benefits justify the costs. These claims can’t be verified if the EPA uses secret science.
More than two years ago, then-Assistant Administrator McCarthy said this information would be made available for independent review and verification. And a few months ago, the President’s own Science Advisor agreed.
When the EPA failed to live up to those commitments, the Committee in August issued a subpoena requiring the agency to produce the data. Three months later, the agency still hasn’t provided the data necessary to verify the agency’s claims. It is the EPA’s responsibility to ensure that the science it uses is transparent and that its claims can be verified independently.
Recently, the EPA provided us with copies of letters it received from scientists explaining why they believe this data cannot be released to the public. It’s unfortunate that it took us two years and a subpoena to get here, but now even the EPA knows the truth: the agency itself cannot verify its own claims. So not only do we have a lack of transparency, we have an agency that is regulating without the facts to back up its claims.
We need to know whether the EPA is telling the truth to the American people. The agency must either make the data public, or commit to no longer using secret science to support its regulations. Otherwise, Congress will have no choice but to prohibit the EPA’s use of secret data moving forward. In the next few weeks, I plan to introduce legislation that will stop the EPA from basing regulations on undisclosed and unverified information.
We can and should continue to look for ways to protect our environment. But these efforts must be open, transparent and based on sound science. Only then can the American people decide whether the costs of EPA’s regulatory agenda is supported by the facts.
Posted by Beltway Beef at 4:24 PM