agriculture, Holly Spangler's 30 Day Blog Challenge

Anti-antibiotic Animal Beliefs

It seems that the public has an unclear idea of why exactly farmers use antibiotics for their animals. Some anti-agriculturalists have lead people to believe that the only reason farmers use antibiotics in their livestock is to in some way project their growth, and get more out of the feed they eat. Ultimately, the reason that the general public has even the least bit concern in what farmers do with their animals is because they have been lead to believe that these antibiotics can eventually cause human disease. Not only are many of the ideas for why farmers use antibiotics false, but the outcomes have been found to astray from the truth, also.

When a child is sick, they go to the doctor. When an animal is sick, they go to the veterinarian. When humans are sick, they take a prescribed antibiotic from a doctor. In the exact same sense, veterinarians prescribe medication to animals. It has become apparent to me that the only sources of information being fed to the public about the safety of their food when it comes from animals exposed to antibiotics, is not set out to inform the uneducated, but to use their lack of agriculture knowledge  to misinform them and shape their views on the entire agricultural industry.

Dr. Richard Raymond says in his blog on Food Safety News:

“Eliminating antibiotics to control or prevent infections in our herds and flocks will eliminate many CAFOs and drive up the cost of protein to the point where many will have to look elsewhere for this portion of their diets. And many opponents of the use of antibiotics in animals say: “And that would be a good thing.”

One of the main reasons the public thinks that antibiotics are used in animals way too often is because it is said that the FDA reports that over 80% of all antibiotics are used towards animals, not humans. However, the people that are the first to repeat the information on reports like this, fail to fill in people on what that evidence truly means. In the FDA reports the antibiotic use is measured in kilograms.

To break it down, the reason that animal antibiotic use exceeds human use by so much is because they require more drugs per animal. For instance, a 2,500 pound bull is definitely going to need more medication than a 200 pound human. The FDA’s reports and listings are not in any way a direct reflection of the use of the antibiotics nor is it any indication of what diseases or infections the antibiotics were used to care for. In addition to this, there are several drugs on the market that are available to animal use, that are illegal for human consumption. All of these things make the offset for antibiotics used in animals.

Farmers do not just inject or feed their animals any drugs they can just to create a better profit down the road. In fact, as studies show, antibiotics are used to treat many different causes.

Resources:

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/01/antibiotics-and-animals-raised-for-food-lies-damn-lies-and-statistics/#.VHe-yr5GjzI

http://www.foodsafetynews.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Allen_Raymond

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ForIndustry/UserFees/AnimalDrugUserFeeActADUFA/ucm277657.pdf

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