Posts Tagged ‘FDA

Antibiotic Use On Small Farms

» April 1st, 2014

Praising the FDAs move to address the overuse of antibiotics to promote the growth of domesticated animals, the Times editorial board wrote:

Medical experts have long been concerned that rampant overuse of antibiotics in agriculture — to speed the growth of cattle, pigs and chickens and to prevent disease among animals crowded together in unsanitary conditions — is stimulating the emergence of bacteria resistant to treatment by some of the most important antibiotics used to treat humans.

The emboldened text above highlights a major oversight in our thinking—and the editorial board’s thinking— about antibiotics and animal agriculture. They are not just used in industrial settings where confinement is the norm. They are also used by small farmers to prevent disease of domesticated animals who are not crowded together but, because of their freedom to move and natural sociability, interact often enough to spread disease. In a way, this should be common sense. Small farmers have more invested in every individual animal and, as a result, are quick to seek prophylactic solutions when the faintest sign of sickness becomes evident.

Consider this account from a chicken farmer writing about her birds on a popular forum:  ”Been treating [the mysterious disease] really well, but, I am out of Gallimycin [antibiotics that fights respiratory disease], till my order comes in! I am giving the 4 really bad ones LA-200 [another antibiotic] injections, and injections to the other sick pen. I have terrimycin [yet another antibiotic] in the water now, as well as Probios. I am also terrymincing everyone else as a precaution. All are getting Vet RX [compound that treats worms and colds] at the moment too.” (1) As for concerns over the perpetuation of resistance, “I am questioning if giving her the same antibiotic a second time might perhaps be ineffective? (may even lead to resistance in the organism causing this?).”(2)

It’s important that consumers become aware that the problems that we assume are endemic to factory farming happen on small, nonindustrial farms as well.

(1) Smoky73, April 5, 2008 (3:52 p.m.) thread starter “Aye, I am fed up with the weather causing sickness,” backyardchickens.com April 5, 2008: http://backyardchickens.yuku.com/topic/10764/Aye-I-am-fed-up-with-the-weather-causing-sickness. Accessed April 28, 2013.

(2) Eprinex Questions,” various backyardchickens.com  thread started on April 19, 2007 (907 a.m.): http://backyardchickens.yuku.com/reply/28271/Eprinex-Questions#reply-28271. Accessed April 29, 2013; dlhunicorn, November 3, 2006 (3:41 p.m.) comment on halo826’s thread starter “I have a very sick hen too…please help me again,” November 3, 2007: http://backyardchickens.yuku.com/reply/30124/I-have-a-very-sick-hen-tooplease-help-me-again#reply-30124. Accessed April 29, 2013.