Livestock Producers Face Balancing Act of Treating Sick Animals and Antibiotic Stewardship

Livestock producers reduce antibiotic use significantly in the past few years, but they still face public pressure.

The key to effective antibiotic stewardship is shifting the focus from intervention to prevention, but it is important that the industry maintain access to antibiotics because producers have an obligation to treat sick livestock. Amy White states, “It’s a big concern for us, because when they’re sick, it’s just inhumane to not treat them...You want to give them the appropriate antibiotic so that they can get back to their normal routine: eating grass, growing, being healthy.”

White raises registered and commercial cattle in Kentucky. She participated in last year’s National Institute for Animal Agriculture Antibiotic Symposium in Ames, Iowa. That event brought together producers, veterinarians, and scientists to share ideas on how to protect both human and livestock health through improved antibiotic stewardship.

White believes the industry has a good story to tell when it comes to antibiotic stewardship. According to the Food and Drug Administration, domestic sales and distribution of all medically important antibiotics used for livestock decrease 38 percent from 2015.

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