Congresswoman Louise Slaughter today called on California Governor Jerry Brown to sign key legislation that would enact first-of-its-kind limits on the routine overuse of antibiotics in otherwise healthy farm animals. In a letter to Gov. Brown, Slaughter urged him to sign SB 27, landmark legislation passed by the state legislature that would make California the first state in the nation to stop the misuse of medically important human antibiotics on factory farms. The governor has until Sunday to sign the bill into law.

“I write to express my utmost support for a bill recently passed by the California Legislature, SB 27 Livestock: Use of Antimicrobial Drugs. This bill will make real change in agricultural antibiotic use and curb the growth in antibiotic resistance that threatens the health of our country,” wrote Rep. Slaughter in a letter to Gov. Brown. “I have introduced similar legislation, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), in every session of Congress since 2007. Federal legislation is essential, but we have faced opposition at every turn from industries more concerned with protecting their bottom line than protecting the health of Americans. It seems that the best chance for change will come from the states, and I am so proud that California has taken up this fight.”

As the only microbiologist in Congress, Rep. Slaughter has led the national effort to preserve the effectiveness of these life-saving drugs and combat the spread of antibiotic resistance. Every year in the United States, antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” cause at least 23,000 deaths, eight million additional hospital days, and up to $35 billion in excess health costs.

Congresswoman Slaughter has been a leading advocate for ending the overuse of antibiotics. She wrote the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) to protect the effectiveness of antibiotics by preventing their overuse on healthy food animals. She also introduced a bill to require robust reporting of antibiotic use by factory farms. In July, Rep. Slaughter convened a White House meeting of leading scientists and advocates to press key administration officials on the need for urgent action to combat antibiotic resistance. In August, the FDA heeded her call to improve data collection for the use of antibiotics on healthy farm animals. She has also introduced legislation to ensure our nation’s food supply remains safe and nutritious. After leading an investigation into fast food company policies on antibiotic use, she called on McDonald’s to make their meat more sustainable by only using beef raised without antibiotics.

The full text of Rep. Slaughter’s letter to Gov. Brown can be found here.