KSU professor says consumers to impact livestock antibiotic use

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feedlot steerGeni Wren 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.

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kansas  |  December, 06, 2012 at 09:11 AM

Duuuuh! Good to hear professionals have finally noticed this and commented in public, at long last. The fact that our current crop of liberals and their Appointees in Regulatory Agencies (FDA,USDA,EPA) are the tools of radical, extremists in the Enviro/Consumerist/Animal Rights movements has been obvious to anyone watching the media. Congresswoman Slaughter, and her allies, have created and promoted a complete mythology and cabal of anti-science, scientific "consensus" power-house propagandists. Actual Science is shouted down and trampled by panic-mongers with their own agenda. On the very, very few occasions where we in the livestock have actually released proof to the general public/media, it has been ignored or dismissed as "corporate financed" deceptions. We in the business have spent our time and resources wringing our hands and whining to each other about how unfair it all is, rather than stepping up and making our case to our customers directly. Assuming that the deeply disconnected (from farming & real science), ignorant and gullible consumers will accept our dry, boring facts over the screechings of preening hollywood stars and panic-monger "TV scientists" is foolish. Hire some professionals and give them the resources they need, or just resign yourself to finding a new way of making a living.

Iowa  |  December, 06, 2012 at 10:25 AM

AS a50 year cow calf, feeder I resent being called ignorant when I want to assure that antibiotics are available when they are needed by the feeder cattle feeders and cow calf ranchers.

USA  |  December, 06, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Antibioticas are mainly used in the livestock industry. Wonder why? Are all animals sick we eat? I'm not taking any antibiotica and I don't want to eat it through the meat either. There is a concern world wide from human doctors are antibioticas don't work anymore. No wonder when the meat industry feeds us on a daily basis.

M F Wilken    
Nebraska  |  December, 06, 2012 at 03:43 PM

I'm sorry, Ben, but to claim that antibiotics are "mainly" used in the livestock industry is very naive and irresponsible. It couldn't be that doctors have been overprescribing antibiotics for years for cases of the flu or a cold or any other type of virus that cannot be remedied by antibiotics thus allowing any bacteria inside of you to then develop a resistance to that antibiotics... It couldn't possibly be the patient's fault when they are given a presciption and don't take the entire 10-day dose, creating even more opportunity for the bacteria to become resistant... No, let's not take responsibility for our own actions and irresponsible use of these products on ourselves. Let's just blame the livestock industry that work so hard day in and day out to produce the safe, nutritious beef we are able to enjoy at reasonable prices. I don't know about you but if you haven't looked at international standards for food production and food safety, you might want you. I wouldn't trust any other country to produce my food, or the protein I eat. Our producers work very hard to remain educated and responsible in their production methods that are based on sound science and technology. Thank you livestock producers for everything you do!!

Anne Burkholder    
Nebraska  |  December, 08, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Ben, the meat that you purchase to eat does not have antibiotics in it. You are not "eating it in the meat". The FDA issues "withdrawal" periods for all antibiotics used in food animals to ensure that there will be no residues in meat at harvest. Animal arcasses are routinely tested at the packing plants to ensure that no antibiotic residues exist in the meat. Last year, in fed beef production, the number of residues found in meat was statistically zero (0.000017%). Please do not mix up the issues of antibiotic residues with antibiotic resistence. There is a seven step process that must occur for antibiotic resistence to result from the use of antibiotics in food animals. I encourage you to visit my blog site to read about this complex process and gain a better understanding of the issue: http://feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/the-conversationalist-take-2-bovine-respiratory-antibiotic-use-relative-to-human-antibiotic-resistance/ and http://feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/the-misunderstood/. Thanks.

SD  |  December, 10, 2012 at 04:45 PM

Thank you Ms. Burkholder, for your clear, detailed comments! And for includin the link to your blog for more information. Now, if Drovers would set up the system so that one might access such links by simply clicking on them.....ooops! it could be my computer which is at fault in not being able to do that! It would be good if more ag producers would get the facts and include the facts re. antibiotic use, withdrawal, and most important, the fact that it is virtually impossible or residues of antibiotics, or any other foreign substance to remain in the beef when proper methods are used. And nearly all ag producers DO follow the rules. Simply because consumers do not take the time to learn the facts, and that MANY actiists of one stripe or another take full advantage of that fact does NOT make meat, especially beef, unsafe to eat.

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