Telling an accurate story of how antibiotics are used on farms and ranches continues to challenge those who raise livestock. Media portray agriculture as the culprit of antibiotic overuse. The reality, however, is much different. 

We often see the statistic – as high as – 80 percent of antibiotics sold today are used on farms and ranches. This number causes alarm for consumers who question why the number is so high, and they question how antibiotics affect the meat we consume.

In reality, though, farm animals need a higher dosage of antibiotics than humans because they weigh several hundreds of pounds more than any human.  Additionally, one-third of antibiotics used on farms and ranches are never used in human medicine.  These two key points provide valuable context to this widely misunderstood topic. 

Farmers and ranchers are equally concerned about antibiotic efficacy – for their animals’ health and their family’s health. Several safeguards are in place today to ensure antibiotics are not overused and that animals receive medication at the appropriate times using the appropriate dosing.

San Francisco Chronicle recently ran an article regarding antibiotics and its “rampant” use on today’s farms and ranches. As we continue to see articles like these, we hope that consumers will look to farmers, ranchers and veterinarians to learn more about how, when and why antibiotics are used.

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