USFRA's View on Antibiotics

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) is committed to answering questions about how food is grown and raised. This includes addressing questions about antibiotic use on farms and ranches and concerns about antibiotic resistance in humans.

We, too, are concerned about if or how the use of antibiotics on farms and ranches may impact human health. Farmers and ranchers and veterinarians know it’s their responsibility – along with medical doctors in human medicine – to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics and minimize the potential for the creation of resistant bacteria.

When animals are sick, or at risk of becoming sick, they should be treated with antibiotics responsibly, following standards based on the latest science and research of veterinary medicine, in ways that don’t stress the animal or harm the environment and are in the best interest of long-term human health.

USFRA is made up of people in agriculture with a variety of perspectives and views. USFRA represents farmers and ranchers who choose to use antibiotics and do so to treat sick animals and keep animals healthy. We also represent farmers and ranchers who choose not to use antibiotics, so they can market their products as natural or antibiotic free. In addition, we have industry partners who develop, manufacture and market antibiotics.

Responsible use of antibiotics is important in all settings, including agriculture. Farmers, ranchers and veterinarians are legally and ethically obligated to follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) requirements for the use of antibiotics on farms and ranches. That’s why everyone in animal agriculture – animal health companies, farmers, ranchers and veterinarians – are working together to implement the FDA’s policy to phase out the use of antibiotics to promote growth and phase in more veterinarian oversight. To be clear, all 26 companies that manufacture animal health products have affirmed their compliance and support of FDA policy (Guidance 209 and 213). As a result of the FDA’s responsible-use policy, all medically important antibiotics used in food animals will be used to fight disease and will be administered under the supervision of a veterinarian. This means antibiotics will not be used to promote livestock growth.

USFRA believes the practices that make our farming businesses stronger over time are those that focus on continuously improving the quality – and safety – of our food supply.