On Tuesday morning, a group of prominent Chicago chefs will gather at City Hall in support of a council resolution calling for the passage of House Bill 1150, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2013. What that legislation would do is essentially ban the usage of non-therapeutic antibiotics in livestocks.
The 10:30 a.m. press conference — to be attended by chefs like Cicchetti’s Mike Sheerin, Balena’s Chris Pandel, Prairie Grass Cafe’s Sarah Stegner, North Pond’s Bruce Sherman and others — is mostly a symbolic gesture. Chicago is expected to join other cities such as Seattle, Cleveland, Providence and Madison, Wisc., that passed similar council resolutions in support of the House bill.
"The abuse of antibiotics by industrial meat producers ... has now become an international health crisis," said Ina Pinkney in a press release. (Disclosure: Pinkney is a freelance writer for the Tribune.) "We must all act quickly, or effective antibiotics will disappear forever."
There is little expectation H.R. 1150 will even make it onto the full House floor this term. It has support only from Democrats, who are in the minority. There is also pushback from agricultural and pharmaceutical industries — according to the office of Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), who first introduced the bill in 2007, 87.5 percent of the 225 lobbying reports filed during the 2011-2012 congressional term "were from entities hostile to the legislation."
"Americans don’t want to eat meat from animals that have been loaded up with antibiotics to compensate for the conditions on the factory farm — they want safe meat from healthy animals, and they want antibiotics to be preserved for future generations," said Slaughter, who received her degree in microbiology from the University of Kentucky. "We will take our effort from city to city until Congress and the Food and Drug Administration start listening to the American people."