This month’s "For the Record" outlines how “natural” and “organic” livestock production might help consumers feel good, but could be downright cruel to animals. Key points from this issue include:

  • Withholding antibiotic medications from animals to earn a marketing premium has not been shown to lead to any improvement in the health of people who regularly eat meat, milk or eggs from those animals. Now, researchers are questioning whether it’s any better for the health of the animals, as well.
  • Unlike the rest of the world, organic farmers in the U.S. are prohibited from using antibiotics at all. In most cases, that means they are using less effective natural remedies. Animal welfare may suffer as a result.
  • Because organic and all-natural producers risk losing their premium if they medicate a sick animal, the system builds in a hidden incentive for them to avoid medication when it may be needed.
  • Natural remedies are seldom researched by a commercial company in order to establish safe use guidelines, unlike FDA approved antibiotics.

Read the full issue of For the Record.