Each day consumers have questions about how their food is grown and raised – and who better to answer those questions than a farmer or rancher?  Each week we’re highlighting an Anderson Live viewer question from our Facebook along with a farmer/rancher answer. Today, we are exploring “Are antibiotics necessary when raising farm animals? How and why are they used?”

Here’s what our farmer/rancher expert says:

Venessa Inda Knoblock Our family raises sheep, chickens, and beef cattle. When one of our animals is sick we administer whatever treatment is necessary- fever reducer, antibiotic, and/or pain relief. This is done under the supervision of our veterinarian. To do otherwise would be cruel and inhumane. The animals who are destined for processing are withheld from entering the food chain until the drugs have been metabolized. I feed my own children the meat we raise and feel good about the quality of the product we sell to others.

Kevin Hoyer We have a dairy farm and do raise our male calves out, as steers for the beef market. We do use antibiotics when needed. Typically other than routine vaccinations to protect them from diseases, they are given an in feed anti-biotic at the first sign of any respiratory ailment, this is typically only given to the younger calves as they are the most prone to stress. This also saves on needing to give injectable antibiotics which are very costly and are typically the last resort. As they get closer to market age and size, no antibiotics are given at all, unless there is a very special case where an animal is in need of care. If an antibiotic is used at that time, they cannot be sold until the prescribed withdrawal period is met, to insure that no harmful residue is left in the animal. A healthy animal is our goal, not one pumped full of antibiotics, that is not healthy, not profitable and certainly not sustainable.

Stay tuned for more answers on how food gets from a farm or ranch to your plate. To be part of the conversation, visit: https://www.facebook.com/USFarmersandRanchers.