When are antibiotics used on farms and ranches?

Farm animals sometimes need treatment, just as people need medical assistance. Antibiotics help maintain animal health, and thus, a safe food supply. It is imperative that farmers and ranchers have tools to prevent disease, in addition to treating or controlling disease.

  • Farmers do not constantly treat farm animals with antibiotics. When they do use antibiotics, they must follow ethical and legal requirements to do so according to label and dosing instructions approved by the FDA.
  • When sick animals are being treated, farmers and ranchers carefully and closely monitor them until they return to good health. If farmers did not treat sick animals, many would suffer and possibly die. This would be inhumane – and even those who say they are against antibiotic use agree that sick animals should be treated.
    • When animals being raised “antibiotic free,” including those on organic farms, get sick, they are treated with antibiotics. These animals are simply separated from the non-antibiotic group, are treated, and are later marketed as conventional after proper withdrawal times have elapsed.

USFRA Point of View

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... Read more