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Consumers Union won’t “Butt Out” of animal antibiotics campaign

The following letter was submitted to the Idaho Statesman in response to ads that ran this week targeting CU and demanding we “butt out” of Idaho and our campaign asking Trader Joe’s to stop selling meat raised on antibiotics.

March 13, 2014

To the Editor:

The full page ad by Tree Top Ranch that ran in your paper telling Consumers Union to “Butt Out” and give up its campaign to convince Trader Joe’s to stop selling meat and poultry raised on antibiotics ignores a serious public health crisis.

The overuse of antibiotics on healthy cows, pigs, and chickens is making these essential drugs lose their power to treat disease in humans. According to the Center for Disease Control and virtually every respected medical and public health organization, the routine use of antibiotics on healthy animals must be curtailed in order to protect public health.

Contrary to Tree Top Ranch’s assertion, meat and poultry raised without antibiotics doesn’t have to be expensive. While prices for such meat vary, Consumer Reports found that some prices were actually lower than the national average for meat raised with antibiotics.

Trader Joe’s claims to be a leader when it comes to offering customers a variety of choices. But the clear choice when it comes to protecting public health is to stop selling meat from animals that are routinely fed antibiotics even though they aren’t sick. We can’t afford to waste these critical medications on healthy livestock.

Jean Halloran
Director of Food Policy Initiatives
Consumers Union