Saturday, March 27, 2010

Anti-biotics in Agriculture

Today we had a sick calf. This was to be expected as the weather has changed from warm and sunny to cold and wet. Dad went out this morning and found the calf, sick and very close to death. He called our vet and got a prescription for a powerful anti-biotic. He then gave the anti-biotic at the prescribed dose along with some vitamins.

I am not sure how the calf is doing, as of tonight it was still alive but barely. I am sure without the benefit of the powerful anti-biotic he would not be alive. This anti-biotic is very important to us as ranchers to help protect the health of our baby calves. As a rancher we feel the responsibility to our cattle to do everything in our power to take care of them.

Recently CBS news and Katie Couric did an expose` on the use of anti-biotics in agriculture and she came to the conclusion that our use of them aid in the resistance of viruses to them in humans. First of all, that conclusion is false. There is no evidence what-so-ever that this is the case. However, there are those who would take away these powerful tools from the farmers and ranchers who raise your food.

The use of anti-biotics are critical to all farmers and ranchers who use them and the animals who need them. Just as in our case this morning, they are used under the guidance of a veterinarian and doses and withdrawal dates are closely monitored. You see these powerful tools are only powerful tools because they are only used when absolutely needed, for the length of time needed and in the dose recommended. The use of anti-biotics in livestock insure that many do not suffer needlessly from curable ailments. The loss of an animal is very painful to any of us who make a living raising them. At the same time, we are also aware that we are raising food for not only consumers but for our own family, and we would never do anything to jeopardize their health.

The bottom line is that we absolutely must have anti-biotics to raise the safe, healthy, nutritious food that we all consume while insuring the health and well-being of the animals that provide us with that food. Tomorrow morning we will check on our calf and I hope that it's health will be improving. I also hope that the powerful medicine we used will be available for other animals on my ranch in the future.

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