WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 12, 2012) Will Witherspoon, recognized for his work as a linebacker for the Tennessee Titans, will be making his presence known as a high-welfare, sustainable cattle farmer on July 24 when he speaks at a congressional briefing about the routine use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics in intensive livestock production. Witherspoon ultimately is aiming to ensure that these vital medicines remain effective for future generations of people and animals.
Witherspoon will be speaking at the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) Meeting Room South, at a briefing sponsored by Rep. Louise Slaughter. Witherspoon will call on members of Congress to support the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), legislation sponsored by Rep. Slaughter and Senator Dianne Feinstein. Passing PAMTA will end the widespread use of antibiotics on healthy animals and curb the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Refraining from overuse of antibiotics would help to preserve the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics while allowing their use for treatment of sick animals.
Witherspoon raises grassfed White Park Cattle at the 500-acre Shire Gate Farm, located in Owensville, Missouri. At Shire Gate Farm, certified by Animal Welfare Approved (AWA), Witherspoon and his team apply high-welfare, sustainable farming techniques that almost entirely rule out the need for antibiotics. By managing the cattle to promote health and minimize stress, allowing the animals to perform their natural behaviors out on pasture, and ensuring they are fed a diet that matches their natural needs, Witherspoon doesn’t need to rely on routine antibiotic use to keep them healthy or prevent disease.
Will Witherspoon says,
“As a pro football player, I am only too aware of the connection between the food I eat and my health. As a father, nothing is more important than protecting the future health and well-being of my children. And as a farmer, I know that you don’t need to rely on routine antibiotics if you raise your animals appropriately. Modern agriculture subjects animals to overcrowding and stress putting the welfare of the animal foremost removes/takes away the requirement for routine doses of antibiotics.
“For years, scientists have warned that the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria represents one of the gravest known threats to human health. Yet over 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used by the intensive livestock industry, either as growth promoters to help maximize production or to prevent the inevitable outbreak of disease in the confined and unsanitary conditions. This encourages bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics–the same antibiotics we use to treat ourselves. Some dangerous bacteria are now resistant to multiple antibiotics: when we get infected, there are fewer and fewer options for treatment. And we are fast running out of options altogether.”
Rep. Louise Slaughter, says,
“We must raise our livestock in a responsible and sustainable way. Every day that we continue the routine use of antibiotics on healthy animals is another day that we encourage the growth of deadly superbugs. This is why I am so pleased that Mr. Witherspoon has taken time out of his busy schedule to help policy makers understand the benefits of raising animals humanely and without routine antibiotic use.”
Andrew Gunther, AWA Program Director, says,
“As a professional athlete, Will understands the direct link between the food we eat and our health and well-being, and he has applied this knowledge to his farm production. He is passionate about the importance of producing healthy, nutritious and truly sustainable food and can speak with authority about the practical solutions farmers can employ to end the unnecessary reliance on sub-therapeutic antibiotic use once and for all.”
About Animal Welfare Approved
Animal Welfare Approved audits, certifies and supports farmers raising their animals according to the highest welfare standards, outdoors on pasture or range. Called a “badge of honor for farmers” and the “gold standard,” AWA is the most highly regarded food label in North America when it comes to animal welfare, pasture-based farming, and sustainability. All AWA standards, policies and procedures are available on the AWA website, making it the most transparent certification available.
Animal Welfare Approved’s Online Directory of AWA farms, restaurants and products enables the public to search for AWA farms, restaurants and products by zip code, keywords, products and type of establishment. In addition, AWA has published Food Labeling for Dummies, a regularly updated guide to commonly used food claims and terms, available free for download at www.AnimalWelfareApproved.org.