Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Commends Shapiro Administration, General Assembly for Protecting Veterinary Usage of Xylazine

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) sincerely appreciates the good, bipartisan work of the Shapiro Administration and the Pennsylvania General Assembly on the approval of House Bill 1661, which was signed into law by the governor this week. House Bill 1661 (now Act 17 of 2024) is intended to address the concerns of the agricultural community regarding farmers’ continued access to the critical veterinary medication xylazine.

“We acknowledge and understand the factors that created the common-sense compromise this bill represents,” said PFB President Chris Hoffman. “While our organization’s policy does not support scheduling xylazine as a controlled substance, Act 17’s exemption of xylazine from scheduling for veterinary use preserves the ability of farmers and the veterinarians under whose control it will remain to continue to utilize it for legitimate animal health purposes.”

Veterinarians frequently use xylazine when treating large animals like horses and cattle, and the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) has stated that if it were to become unavailable for veterinary usage, both animal welfare and human health could be jeopardized. At the same time, the increasing misuse of xylazine—which is not approved for use in humans—in “street drugs” has contributed to a recent dramatic increase in overdose deaths in the Commonwealth that the Shapiro Administration and many legislators have been attempting to address.

“We’re grateful to the governor and the General Assembly for taking Pennsylvania agriculture’s concerns seriously, and we appreciate the work of the Commonwealth’s veterinarians for their expertise as this legislation was crafted,” Hoffman said.

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