New Food and Drug Administration guidance that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017, will end the use of antibiotics important to human medicine to promote growth in animals or to improve feed efficiency, and require veterinary oversight for the use of medically important antibiotics in animal agriculture.
As a veterinarian, I need to be able to answer questions about antibiotic use in farm animals in an informed and evidence-based way. Based on scientific research and practical experience, I’m completely comfortable telling people that using antibiotics responsibly makes meat, milk and eggs safer with the added benefit of lower food costs.
As a veterinarian, it is my duty to weigh the decision on whether to use antibiotics on the farm in order to balance both public health and animal needs. I took an oath to prevent and treat animal suffering as well as promote public health and protect animal health. It’s a real balancing act some days, but when an animal is sick with a bacterial infection, treating it with antibiotics is the right thing to do.