Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Antibiotics in the Cattle Industry: What is our Future?
A lot of attention has been paid to food safety regulations lately on Capitol Hill - all of which will directly affect cattle producers.
Beef producers use antibiotics in their management strategy to ensure optimum health of their cattle and to maximize production of their animals. Antibiotics are used to maintain good health, help prevent the onset of disease, or put a stop to the disease after it occurs. Without antibiotics, it is safe to say that the United States' cattle industry would not be where it is today and the projected growth we are seeing in the future may not be the case.
Nonetheless, antibiotics are getting a bad reputation and stirring up debate in popular press. Residue on meat and the development of antibiotic resistance in humans is an on-going concern and is currently being debated in our government system. Click here to take a closer look at the Food Safety Modernization Act.
This link is a past article by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition that predicted the Congressional popularity of the subject.
Everyone has his or her own opinion of antibiotics in our livestock industry and there is no doubt that policies, uses, and administration need to be taken a closer look at. But this is where Beef Quality Assurance comes in to play... BQA is a national program designed to educate producers on proper management techniques, such as antibiotic administration.
No matter what policies Congress passes, we as producers must strive to continue to improve our business in every way possible. Even if our use of antibiotics is restricted or altered, we must adjust to government policies and keep our eye on the prize: promoting our product and encouraging others to eat beef!