A Kansas State University professor says consumer interest groups will pressure the Food and Drug Administration to put more restrictions on animal antibiotic use, creating a bigger role for large animal veterinarians.

Mike Apley, a professor of veterinary medicine at Kansas State University, told the BC Democrat Online consumer interest groups will push to curb livestock antibiotic use. The changes, which Apley says will happen in the next five years, will require livestock producers to keep more detailed records when using animal health products.

“Within four to five years, every antibiotic we put in the feed or water is going to be a prescription product,” Apley told cattlemen in Western Kansas recently. “That means a veterinarian will have to write an approval.”

Low levels of antibiotics are used by cattle producers to promote faster growth, prevent diseases and increase feed efficiency. The FDA may add restrictions to livestock antibiotic use fearing continued use, even at low levels, potentially contributes to the development of “super bugs.”

The BC Democrat Online says Apley acknowledged cattle producers can do more to use animal health products responsibly and they should ensure products added to feed are necessary.

Allan Sents, owner and manager of McPherson County Feeders told the BC Democrat Online the livestock industry generally uses livestock antibiotics responsibly and consumer awareness in the origins of their food has led producers to be even more responsible.

“Every industry has outliers, but we need to address it on an individual basis, not industry-wide. And we need to be proactive in advertising the benefits of antibiotics and the role they play in animal welfare,” Sents said.