Kentucky Beef Council on Informing Customers about Antibiotic Use

As the general public increasingly questions where their animal protein comes from and how it is raised, the topic of antibiotic use in livestock arises.

Anna Hawkins is the director of consumer affairs for the Kentucky Beef Council. She places her efforts into understanding consumer concerns about antibiotic use in livestock. More importantly, she informs them about how they are used in beef cattle. “The Kentucky Beef Council is going to work on sharing the message of what producers are doing on the farm to ensure the safe and healthy produce of that meat in the grocery store, so the consumer knows that the same concerns they have are what’s on the mind of Kentucky’s producers,” Hawkins states.

Hawkins works to show that producers’ antibiotic use in minimal and only when their cattle become ill does it become absolutely necessary. She says that antibiotic use in cattle has no negative health effects on consumers. “We have protocols in place to make sure that we are using those for animal health and at a minimal use effort,” according to Hawkins, “right now, there’s not a correlation drawn between antibiotic use on farms and antibiotic resistance in humans.”

According to the Food and Drug Administration, domestic sales and distribution of all medically important antibiotics approved for use in livestock decreased 38 percent from 2015 to 2018. That is substantial, but producers continue to shift their focus from disease intervention to disease prevention. Simple steps include working with veterinarians to design a herd health program, providing proper cow nutrition, pre-conditioning and vaccinating calves, practicing good animal handling, and adopting simple steps like fenceline weaning.

For more information from the NIAA, click HERE.

For more information from the Kentucky Beef Council, click HERE.