Farmers and ranchers are taking proactive steps to ensure effective and efficient use of antibiotics. Antibiotics have historically been used in food producing animals to treat and prevent illness and for growth purposes. Following the FDA’s guidance, farmers and ranchers are phasing out the use of medically important antibiotics for growth purposes. Antibiotics that are medically important for humans will only be used to treat disease and must be administered with a prescription and supervision from a veterinarian. Farmers, ranchers and veterinarians are legally and ethically required to follow the FDA’s strict guidelines for antibiotic dosage and withdrawal periods. Even with the best overall health plan animals get sick and must be treated, just like people. Keeping animals healthy is the foundation for a safe and healthy food supply.
Doctors, healthcare workers, antibiotic manufacturers, regulatory agencies, veterinarians, farmers and ranchers all have a responsibility to work to address the issue of antibiotic resistance. Spreading misleading information and unnecessarily alarming consumers hinders their ability to effectively and efficiently do so.
The bottom line is livestock producers are committed to doing the right thing. Not only are they all consumers, but they have a vested interest in preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics for their families and the animals in their care.