The Truth About Antibiotics

May 17, 2017

Information is often thrown around in the news about antibiotics in meats and what that means for the consumer. Many of these sources claim that animals used for slaughter are constantly being pumped with antibiotics to promote growth and other valuable characteristics. In reality, the main reasons antibiotics are used is to keep the animals healthy.

Looking at industry data, only 13% of antibiotics are used for growth promotion with this number decreasing at a constant rate. The rest of antibiotic use is to keep animals healthy and happy. Just as a mother would give her child a shot or vaccine to prevent them getting sick, producers give animals different shots at stressful times of their lives such as weaning when the animals is separated from its mother.

In response to all of the controversy with antibiotic usage the agriculture industry responded with the Veterinary Feed Directive. This directive was put in place by the government and began in January 2017. It requires producers to obtain a prescription from a veterinarian for many different antibiotics in order to administer them to their animals. These prescriptions include the number of head that the drug can be administered to and the dosage for each animal. This has helped to control antibiotic usage in meat animals.

As a whole, the livestock industry has continually worked to decrease the amount of antibiotic use in their animals. With each drug that is administered there is a withdrawal period that the animal must go through before being slaughtered to ensure that the antibiotic is out of their system and that the meat is as safe as possible for human consumption.


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