Alaska's GOP Governor upset, CDC health workers recalled for emergency, Ag Dept. vet medicine workers brought back in Day 10 of the GOP's government shutdown.
The once-hidden consequences of this mindless shutdown are starting to reveal themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had to recall furloughed staff to deal with a major salmonella outbreak linked to raw chicken from California. The Agriculture Department recalled workers to prevent a shortage of important animal vaccines. Even the conservative Republican governor of Alaska was shocked, shocked that the National Wildlife Refuges are closed for hunting and fishing.
It’s time for Congress to quit playing political games with people’s livelihoods and health and pass a straightforward spending bill to get our cancer scientists and health monitors and anti-pollution enforcers and, yes, park rangers, back on the job.
“Non-essential” CDC workers suddenly essential to fight “superbug” salmonella outbreak
Worse, this bug appears to be resistant to commonly used antibiotics, which can make it more dangerous to patients. The rise of antibiotic resistant “superbugs” is a large and growing problem, and one cause is the widespread use of antibiotics of farm animals—which accounts for 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States. Although the Food and Drug Administration has long acknowledged the risks to human health from overuse of antibiotics on livestock and poultry—especially animals that aren’t even sick—the agency has for years dragged its heels on taking meaningful action. FDA’s response to the problem of antibiotic resistance is to propose a loophole-laden set of voluntary recommendations for industry that industry is free to ignore. This new outbreak is a wakeup call: FDA should move swiftly to impose mandatory restrictions on the improper use of antibiotics for speeding up animal growth.
Alaska Governor: Keep your federal hands off my National Wildlife Refuges
Federal wildlife refuges around the country have been similarly closed to all comers. But Parnell told Jewell that Alaska—which has 16 NWRs covering more than 76 million acres, an area larger than the state of Arizona-- is a special case. “Whether it’s for hunting, fishing, or subsistence, Alaskans’ access opportunities cannot lawfully be curtailed due to a federal government shutdown,” Parnell said, according to a press release from his office, citing the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act under which he says federal lands and waters are to be open and accessible without fees or permits. Yesterday shutdown supporter Young, along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), wrote a letter to FWS complaining about the shutdown of the Alaska refuges.
Healthy food starts with healthy agency: Some furloughed USDA workers return to safeguard chickens, turkeys and livestock
Take, for example, the alarm bell rung recently by the American Veterinary Medical Association and major poultry groups. They sent letters to Congress complaining about the closure of the Center for Veterinary Biologics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s responsible for ensuring the safety of animal vaccines and approving their release for commercial use.
Food-animal producers typically don’t keep a long-term supply on hand, so, with the USDA’s veterinary office closed, veterinarians and farmers would soon run out, leaving them unable to vaccinate poultry flocks or livestock herds. This, AMVA’s President Ron DeHaven wrote, would “endanger herd health, food safety and public health.”
Together, the groups pleaded with Congress to immediately restore the center’s funding. About a day ago, they learned USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack had abruptly deemed some of the center’s staff “excepted,” meaning they can return to work during the shutdown. Now vaccines will continue to be available.
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