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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Antibiotic Use: No Easy Solution

Bacteria are becoming resistant to Antibiotics so we need to ban ALL antibiotic use in food animals.

We have all heard those lines. But livestock producers realize there is no simple answer. ALPHARMA Animal Health has a new way of communicating the "Straight talk about antibiotic use in food animal production" called "For the Record."

This month's issue presents 6 questions that show there is no easy solution to antibiotic use and banning antibiotic use does not account for the scientific complexities involved.

  1. If bacteria freely swap the genetic material to resist antibiotics, why aren't all bacteria resistant to all antibiotics by now?
  2. Where is the policy position against the use of tetracycline to clear up teen acne?
  3. If it's "too risky" to allow farmers to use antibiotics, what's an acceptable risk?
  4. If "no one's questioning the use of antibiotics to treat a sick animal" then why have you actively opposed?
  5. If food animals consume an unacceptable fraction of all antimicrobials, then what's a fair percentage?
  6. If animal suffering is a concern, why eliminate the least stressful means of medicating animals?
Many livestock producers have used antibiotics to treat animals at one point or another and it's not like we are going to use more than what is necessary because we feel like it.

Do you refuse vaccines, antibiotics, and other medications to prevent or treat sickness for yourself or your children? How many supplements do you take every day?

Consider these questions and view more of the discussion at the Antibiotic Truths website. Before you criticize livestock producers for using antibiotics, take the time to visit a producer in your area and learn why they make the management decisions when producing your food. You might find you have a distorted view on antibiotic use in livestock production.