There is increasing pressure from regulatory agencies and consumers to reduce antibiotic use in food producing animals. We feel that it makes sense to become less dependent on antibiotics, and we want to offer our support to producers in transitioning away from routinely using them. New Regulations on Antibiotic Use Antibiotic residues in meat and milk have been associated with drug-resistant bacteria in human diseases.
While the livestock industry frequently receives more than its share of the blame for this trend, at least 10% of antibiotic resistance has been linked to our industry. With the goal of preserving the efficacy of antibiotics used to treat people, the FDA has substantially tightened the regulation of the use of these drugs in food animals. As of 1/1/2017, only antibiotics used for therapeutic purposes are permitted in the water or feed, and these will require a prescription from a veterinarian. The FDA has also proposed to require a veterinary prescription for all injectable antibiotics in three years.
Consumers’ Changing Views on Antibiotics Whether farms market their products to suppliers or directly to the end-consumer, they are finding that all types of buyers have become more conscious about antibiotic use in food animals. Many retailers will no longer purchase meat unless the producer can document that no antibiotics were ever used. This trend will likely continue. The Solution Fortunately there are many ways that producers can update their farm protocols to satisfy the demands of consumers and regulators. The easiest way to reduce the need for antibiotics is to improve baseline herd health.
A review of the environment, husbandry practices, and nutrition will often highlight areas where improvements can be made. For example, correcting trace mineral deficiencies can eliminate a number of common problems. Animals that receive optimal nutrition and have limited social and environmental stress are less susceptible to diseases that would require treatment with antibiotics. Secondly, vaccine protocols should be reviewed. As we move away from routine antibiotic use, we will rely more heavily on excellent vaccine protocols to ensure our animals can fight infections with their own immune system.Feel free to contact us to discuss VFD implementation, vaccine protocols, or other ways we can help you reduce antibiotic use on your farm.