Advocates Ask Hogan to Revise Animal Antibiotics Regulations

ANNAPOLIS (Sept. 04, 2018)—Representatives from more than a dozen public health and environmental organizations met in Annapolis Tuesday to deliver public comments urging Gov. Larry Hogan to revise and strengthen regulations on the routine use of antibiotics in animals.

The 2017 Keep Antibiotics Effective Act was enacted, without Hogan's signature, to curb the use of "medically important" antibiotics on animals that aren't sick, according to the legislation. The Maryland Department of Agriculture, however, opposed the bill and this year released draft regulations that some health advocates say don't clearly define routine use.

Advocates from the Maryland PIRG, Sierra Club, Nurses Association and more, concerned about antibiotic resistance, submitted more than 1,000 public comments asking Hogan to maintain and bolster the regulations from the 2017 bill.

Tuesday was the last day of the public comment period for draft regulations. Regulations could be finalized as early as Sept. 18, advocates said.

"We must act now to protect these lifesaving drugs for future generations," Emily Scarr, Maryland PIRG director, said. "Governor Hogan should strengthen the Department of Agriculture's proposed regulations to ensure antibiotics are reserved for when they are needed most: for sickness and surgery."

Hogan's press office was not able to be reached for comment, and the state agriculture department did not return a request by press time.

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