Thursday, July 15, 2010

1st Day on Capitol Hill With HSUS

I returned from China with a greater appreciation for the freedom, wealth and opportunities we have in this country. For example in China, high school students take an exam similar to our SAT exam. Their 2 day performance on this test determines their entire future. It determines the college they attend and the major that is chosen for them based on their performance. In China your occupation is selected for you and almost all people are grateful for school and a job. They do not think about if they are fulfilled and passionate about their career they are thankful for food and their job and learn to like it. While my one Chinese friend, Nicole, may go against the grain and change her career, this is the main way of thinking. Another friend I met in China is lucky to major in Spanish because that is her interest, but the college that was selected for her is an engineering school with a brand new Spanish department. She will probably not be able to study abroad in Spain or South America because no exchange programs have been created yet. She expressed that learning Spanish in China is difficult, and this is a major disadvantage.

So for the reasons above, among many others, I am proud and privileged to be an American. Yesterday, however, I was frustrated to be an American. Despite wealth and intelligence, important and pressing issues may not advance and I am baffled as to why.

I attended the 3rd of 3 hearings concerning antibiotic resistance. Coincidentally, during my animals and public policy course last year I presented a paper on the urgency and precedence this issue must take in order to keep our antibiotics working for animal and human health. There were so many frustrations I do not exactly know where to start, so I will list them out:

  1. 3 Republican Representatives slammed the Obama Administration's health care reform bill (not the issue to be discussed) then left the room.
  2. 1 Representative discussed his own agenda with an expert witness from the FDA-Center for Veterinary Medicine regarding FDA jurisdiction over the illegal importation of counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs. He left the room after his time was finished.
  3. Despite a co-Chairman of this subcommittee, who was present at the meeting, raising the identical question of "Can antibiotic resistance in animals be passed to be people?" in 1980, there was debate over there has been enough peer-reviewed scientific evidence to enable Congress to act on this topic. 30 years have gone by and we are in the same place, only with more antibiotic resistance in humans and people.
  4. The argument was made that low-doses of tetracyclines in food animals increases their health without creating resistant organisms. What does vet school teach you in clinical pharmacology- low doses of any antibiotic in any living animal creates only resistance.
  5. One Representative stated, "Animal and human health are like apples and oranges." This statement had me enraged. How uneducated can you be. Animals carry the food-borne diseases that make us sick. In addition, if you want to use an ignorant analogy like that, a smarter way would be to say, " Animal and human health are like a granny smith and a red delicious apple."
  6. The representative for the AVMA stated there is not enough evidence to either prove or disprove that antibiotic resistance in animals is transferred to humans. Directly to her left was a veterinarian who works for the AVMA, who stated that in her professional experience she has seen many accounts that animal diseases with resistant strains of campylobacter have created human outbreaks of campylobacter that then did not respond to traditional antibiotic therapies. By the way, she also had a 3 inch binder of epidemioloigc studies.
  7. When asked the question, "Is there any scientific debate that antibiotic resistance in animals is transferred to humans?," the chief veterinary officer of CDC, the head of USDA-APHIS, and the head veterinarian for FDA all answered "No there is not."
  8. "World Health organization studies are irrelevant to American data."

I left very frustrated and frightened for the future. After 30 years, we still debate what 3 experts declare is not debatable instead of moving forward to protect an important class of drugs. I personally believe our government is too large and parties too divided with too many self-serving interests groups with money controlling the power or re-election to function properly.

I hope my next days on the Hill are a little more promising..and relevant.

6 comments:

文辰文辰 said...

你的部落格不錯哦,支持!!!!@@ ............................................................

Future DVM said...

I agree with your frustration! It is scary to note that our nation's leaders are so uneducated and short sighted on such important issues.

黃威宇 said...

支持你!!!加油囉!!!多謝............................................................

瑤德 said...

脾氣與嘴巴不好,就算心地再好,也不算好人~~~..................................................

吳婷婷 said...

Pay somebody back in his own coin.............................................................

趙喜柯凡豐妤 said...

一個人的際遇在第一次總是最深刻的,有時候甚至會讓人的心變成永遠的絕緣。............................................................