Antibiotics in animal feed: Point/Counterpoint article needs farmers’ comments

Sam Gardner, president of Gardner Heifers Inc. in Bedford County and a Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmer, was recently asked to submit an essay to the Roanoke Times on antibiotic use in agriculture for a point/counterpoint article on their “Roundtable” blog.

In his essay, Gardner explains that the use of antibiotics is crucial to his operation. He states, “My family and I work continually to improve animal care because it’s the right thing to do, and because our business prospects are only as good as the foods we ultimately produce. When antibiotics are used on our farm, they ensure the health and well-being of our animals. We follow safety protocols to ensure that all animals that leave our farm will produce food that is safe for my family and your family to enjoy at the dinner table.”

An opposing essay is written by Susan Vaughn Grooters, the director of research and education for STOP Foodborne Illness. She argues that antibiotic use in animal feed increases the number of antibiotic-resistant foodborne illnesses. “Consumers are shocked to learn that the same antibiotics used to treat their children are being fed to animals, not for infection treatment, but for outdated reasons like growth promotion when no evidence of disease is present for ‘prevention,'” she states. “Mothers don’t use antibiotics to treat their children in place of hygienic practices or for prevention purposes; neither should farmers.”

Please visit the blog here: http://blogs.roanoke.com/roundtable/2012/06/antibiotics-in-animal-feed-pointcounterpoint/ and comment on the misconceptions of antibiotic use in agriculture animals and why they are an important tool farmers use to help ensure the health and well-being of their animals. We need more viewpoints from farmers on this article!

Contributors’ rebuttals will be published June 10.

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