Women’s Institute calls for action to protect antibiotics from overuse

The Manitoba Women’s Institute held its annual meeting earlier this month in Winnipeg

Little piglet in piggery with innocent eye

The Manitoba Women’s Institute has added its voice to the growing concerns expressed about overuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals.

At its May convention members strongly supported a resolution calling for the federal government to take action before a health crisis develops.

Newdale farmer and retired nurse, Enid Clark, spoke to the matter during the resolution debate.

She said a dialogue is needed across all federal departments related to human and animal health, involving organizations and groups in an effort to halt the use of antibiotics for reasons other than just fighting disease, she said. It needs to happen before the threat from superbugs resistant to antibiotics gets even more serious.

“We’ve become complacent,” Clark said. “Unfortunately, with the overuse of antibiotics in humans and their continued use in animal, poultry and fish feed just to stimulate growth and to keep those pathogens under control, these wily pathogens have done what pathogens always do. They develop resistance to the drugs and become stronger and more virulent.”

It was one of a half-dozen resolutions at the May 8 convention attended by about 70 women bringing proxy votes representing the total 371 membership.

The rural women’s organization, which has nearly 400 members, also reaffirmed a resolution passed five years ago that called then for immediate action to stop violence against Aboriginal women. In 2010 the WI spoke of the deplorable situations faced by many Aboriginal women including their vulnerability due to systemic poverty and discrimination.

“It’s timely to bring this resolution back and reaffirm it with all the calls for government inquiries around this issue,” said Clark. “We want to add our voice to it again.”

The MWI also supported three other resolutions, including those calling for additional recycling strategies to reduce heavier plastics used in product packaging, and another for fast tracking the changeover to digital mammography equipment, noting Manitoba is one of the last provinces to make the switch over from analog technology.

One resolution calls for affixing ‘long load’ signage on the rear of transport trucks hauling multiple trailers. Drivers access a number of factors including weather and road conditions before deciding to pass one of these vehicles, and cautions about the length of the vehicle being passed could help prevent accidents.

Brandon-based MWI president Donna Young said in an interview the provincial group looks forward to a strong year ahead.

Members were especially buoyed by reports of Women’s Institutes elsewhere in Canada being revived and attracting new members, and they’re working hard to make that happen here too. There’s been lots of interest shown in their three-year food security programming, she said.

“I think the next year will be very exciting for us,” Young said.

About the author


Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.



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