Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Antibiotics have a place in meat production

"In order to reduce animal pain and suffering, to protect the economic livelihood of beef and dairy producers, to ensure the continued production of foods of animal origin, and to minimize the shedding of zoonotic bacteria into the environment and potentially the food chain, prudent use of antimicrobials is encouraged."—from the American Veterinary Medical Association. (AVMA)

When did antibiotics get such a bad wrap?  You and I take them--some of us beg the doctor to give them to us when we get sick, so why do consumers have such a misunderstanding of how they're used? 

It's because farmers and ranchers haven't talked about how necessary they are to a safe food supply, not to mention how they ensure animal welfare. 

Here are some great links with a wealth of information about the safety and necessity of antibiotics.  Please share them with consumers or use them to craft a response the next time you see a media report that doesn't share all the facts. 

National Milk Producers Federation
A growing body of evidence shows … the responsible, professional use of (antibiotics) reduces pathogens in and on foods, enhancing animal welfare while not contributing to resistance.

Animal Health Institute
For more than 40 years, antibiotics approved by the Food and Drug Administration have been used to treat sick animals, prevent illness and maintain the health of animals. Livestock and poultry producers rely on these products so they can provide U.S. consumers with the safest food possible. Several layers of protection have been put in place to ensure antibiotics are used to keep animals healthy without harm to public health.

National Pork Producers Assn.
Current and future availability of safe and effective animal health products are important to pork producers, who depend on these products to maintain healthy and productive animals and to help producers protect public health and animal well-being.

The Beef Board
Like humans or pets, when calves or cattle become sick with a bacterial infection they are given therapeutic doses of antimicrobials. Medicated feed containing small amounts of antimicrobials also sometimes is used to prevent diseases such as bacterial scours, liver abscesses and shipping fever. The practice keeps animals healthy.

This link contains the AVMA’s general guidelines for the prudent therapeutic use of antimicrobials in beef and dairy cattle.

The Animal Ag Alliance has a number of helpful resources on animal health too.
Illinois Farm Bureau has a helpful site too.

Tomorrow Katie discusses what happened in Denmark when they outlawed antibiotics.  Wonder if she'll highlight these points:
•Danish Government reports show an increase in a variety of human, antibiotic-resistance illness, including a 10-fold increase in MRSA since the ban was put in place.

•A U.S. congressional fact-finding mission to Denmark last September found no scientific evidence that reducing antibiotic use in agriculture resulted in public health benefits in that country.
•Denmark recently experienced one of the worst salmonella outbreaks in Danish history

1 comment:

  1. Here is what I put on the CBS facebook page:

    I'm a cattle rancher from Kansas. Farmers and ranchers work every day to ensure the health of their animals. Most of us don't use antibiotics except when the health of an individual animal is compromised. I have no qualms about eating meat from an animal that has been treated when it was sick because of the regulations that are in place. Without the use of antibiotics the health and welfare of the animal is compromised--I don't want any animal to suffer needlessly.

    The Centers for Disease Control says lots of factors contribute to the rise of "super bugs." I wish you had examined that part of the story.

    ReplyDelete