K-State Vet Dr. Dan Thomson Argues Judicious Antibiotic Use Remains Essential to the Beef IndustryFri, 22 Feb 2019 12:23:15 CST
It seems like various retail brands and restaurants try to outdo one another when it comes to making claims about antibiotic use or ‘no-antibiotic use’ in the meat they are selling. Dr. Dan Thomson is Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology at Kansas State University and in his professional opinion, he insists the industry and the consumer both need judicious use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
“Antibiotics are a tremendous tool for human and animal health and they’re something we need to utilize,” he said. “The ‘never-ever antibiotic‘ or ‘raised without antibiotic’ groups to me are such a shame because at the end of the day - I don’t want to use antibiotics… If I do, it means an animal has gotten sick and I’m treating that animal. But the protein from that animal is still safe, wholesome and nutritious.”
Thomson says the ag industry has always understood that “zero” antibiotic use is not an option. Recently, he says retailers who maybe use to support the no antibiotic use movement, have generally started to understand themselves that zero use is not an option. Thomson explained that people are beginning to realize that removing antibiotics out of the equation has many negative consequences. For instance, it decreases animal welfare, animal health and can actually decrease food safety because pathogens like salmonella and e. Coli are allowed to go unchecked and float around in an uncontrolled environment.
To win this battle to keep antibiotics as a tool and to educate people on their value, Thomson says, is for producers to work with retailers closest to the consumer and convince them that the industry needs a responsible use policy for cattle. The key there of course being “responsible use.” Thomson says while antibiotics are and should remain essential, the industry should also be proactive in taking the initiative to make changes in how they are used. By practicing good stewardship, he believes consumers will become more trusting and allow continued use of antibiotics as they grow to understand the important role they play in beef production.
Listen to Thomson build his argument in favor of judicious antibiotic use in the beef industry, with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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