If antibiotic use in animals was unduly restricted, as some believe is necessary, it could have negative consequences for consumers, according to Tom Burkgren, DVM, executive director of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. The comments were made in a recent interview with AgriTalk Radio host Mike Adams.

Burkgren sees a threat to food safety with unnecessary bans of antibiotics in animal production. If there was an undue restriction of antibiotic use in animals, food safety may be jeopardized, Burkgren said. “Healthy pigs make safe meat. We don’t want ill pigs on the farms or sent to meat packers.”

Those who propose banning certain uses of antibiotics in animal production are ignoring key aspects of the topic, according to Burkgren. “Across-the-board bans of antibiotics really concern us because they tend to ignore the science behind the development of (antibiotic) resistance and totally ignore the welfare of the pig.”

Veterinarians provide critical input in keeping the use of antibiotics on the farm safe and judicious. “Veterinarians are on the front line with producers,” Burkgren said. ”Their utmost concern is for the health and welfare for the animal.”

If there was a human health concern with the use of antibiotics, veterinarians would be the first to stand up and say “we recognize the fact and we will alter the use of that particular antibiotic on the farm,” Burkgren said.