Don’t Trust the Label

The truth about antibiotic use in farm animals continues to be buried in mislead and false articles and headlines found across the World Wide Web. 

Wednesday night I stumbled across a Tweet from MSN.com claiming Americans are eating more “antibiotic laced food” – the result of the use of antibiotics in livestock. But that is simply not true. The linked article can be found here http://healthyliving.msn.com/nutrition/antibiotic-free-food-labels-to-look-for?ocid=vt_twmsnhlt 

We and other livestock owners do use antibiotics to treat our animals suffering from illness or infection. Our logic is the same as any animal owner, healthy animals are happy animals and we strive to raise happy, healthy livestock. 

The backlash against antibiotic use in livestock and other farm animals is not new but new organizations are joining the fight. Some, however, have a confusing mission. 

The Animal Welfare Approved label does nothing to prevent the use of antibiotics in animals and in facts encourages the use of medicine to treat sick animals. 

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The following was taken from the Animal Welfare Approved website under the beef cattle standards:

In order to help eliminate or reduce vulnerability to disease and the need for antibiotics at therapeutic levels, Animal Welfare Approvedencourages the appropriate use of vaccines on an individual or group basis for prevention of disease.

Any sick or injured animals on the farm must be treated immediately to minimize pain and distress. This must include veterinary treatment if required.

If alternative treatments are not suitable or not effective or if a veterinarian has recommended antibiotic treatment, this must be administered.

 

The practices recommended by the Animal Welfare Approved organization are exactly those used everyday on our farm. We don’t do it for the certification or the notoriety but because it is what is best for our animals and our farm. 

The fact that those antibiotics end up in your food is also simply FALSE! All animals that receive antibiotics are removed from our herd until the antibiotics have left their system. An animal is never processed for food until the antibiotics have left their system. We keep diligent records to ensure the animals are removed from the food chain for the appropriate length of time. 

The USDA Process Verified Program also does not mean that every animal in the program has not received antibiotics at some point in their life. 

It seems a new organization with a new label and a new program pops up each day. There is no oversight and regulation of these programs and nothing to verify their statements are true. 

Livestock owners work daily to care for their animals and when that means treating a sick animal, they do what they can to ensure that animal returns to full health and productivity.

 


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