The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing Tuesday on the reauthorization of the Animal Drug User Fee Act.
ADUFA legislation authorizes the Food and Drug Administration to collect fees for certain animal drug applications, and its reauthorization is one of the top priorities for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association as set by its members.
Dr. Mike Apley testified to the importance of animal health technologies that allow veterinarians and producers to prevent, control and treat diseases to maintain animal health.
Apley told the committee that the overarching goal of veterinarians and producers is to replace the need for prevention or control uses of antibiotics through good management practices. He said ADUFA allows veterinarians and producers a greater array of current products to use in these practices.
Apley also noted that the use of antibiotics in food animals is highly regulated, starting with specific indications on the label as approved by the FDA. Any other use of these products must meet strict requirements - including strict oversight requirements for veterinary involvement.
According to the 2011 National Beef Quality Audit, nearly 90-percent of respondents have a working relationship with a veterinarian when it comes to the use of animal health products. In addition - 99-percent of cattlemen followed Beef Quality Assurance best management practices, which stress the judicious use of antimicrobial drugs for cattle through a set of guidelines first established in 1987 and reviewed regularly for scientific relevance.
NCBA notes cattlemen and women work with veterinarians to implement comprehensive herd-health management plans, which include the appropriate use of antibiotics to prevent, control and treat diseases in cattle. These antibiotics are made specifically for cattle to help animals regain and maintain superior health, and the vast majority are never used in humans.