Antibiotic use in farm animals can be a complicated topic. We know there can be a lot of confusion around whether antibiotics are present – or not present - in the meat and milk we consume. Many people are concerned about the risk of creating antibiotic resistance strains of bacteria. They want to know when and why farmers use them when caring for their animals.

The PEW Charitable Trust is tackling this issue in cooperation with their own supermoms and it makes sense; after all, mothers have a natural concern about what they are feeding their children and families. The question is – are they being given all of the information they need to make the best choices for their families? And shouldn’t farmers and ranchers join the conversation to share their experiences and perspectives to help consumers get their questions answered?

Our farmers and ranchers are parents too, and they're committed to answering these questions and fostering an open dialogue. USFRA believes that providing a safe, wholesome food supply begins with keeping animals healthy. Responsible antibiotic use is often the best choice to treat sick animals, as well as to prevent animals from getting sick or suffering. We support science-based, peer reviewed programs that are designed and monitored by veterinarians and animal care experts.

Here are some links below that provide more perspective on this topic:

o   No Cases of Animal Antibiotic Use Leading to Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs: There has been no proven link to antibiotic treatment failure in humans due to antibiotics use in animals for consumption. (Hurd SH, Doores S, Hayes D, Mathew Am Maurer J, Silley P, Randall SS and Jones RN (2004). Public Health Consequences of Macrolide Use in Food Animals: A Deterministic Risk Assessment. Journal of Food Protection, 67(5): 980–992.)  

o   Many Antibiotics Sold for Animal Use Are Not Used to Treat Humans: According to FDA statistics, 35 percent of antibiotics sold for animal use are in classes not used in human medicine. And all antibiotics are carefully examined for any human health implications before approved and incorporated into labeling. This means they have no possibility of contributing to antibiotic resistance bacteria in people. (Animal Health Institute. (2012). Antibiotics in Livestock. Frequently Asked Questions

Also, this is exactly why USFRA will be hosting a live web chat on antibiotics use on May 29. We want to help answer people’s questions. We’ll have two third-party experts available to address some common misperceptions, answer your questions and share their expertise. Check back soon for more details -- we’re live streaming the web chat right here on our website, so be sure to tune in and watch.

If you have additional questions about how antibiotics are used in farm animals, send us a message at info@fooddialogues.com or ask a question on our Facebook page.