If you think you understand antibiotic resistance, it has not been properly explained to you.”
Dr. Guy Loneragan, Texas Tech
Antibiotics – at the 2015 World Pork Expo, NPPC President Dr. Ron Prestage said it would the topic of the year.
He was right.
Ready or not, all eyes are focused on antibiotic usage, especially in livestock.
As Dallas Hockman, the NPPC’s vice president of industry relations, explained at the Leman Swine Conference in September, it’s not activists leading the charge this time. Restaurants, such as Subway and McDonald’s, join retailers in marketing their products as “antibiotic-free.”
“If you have major players beginning to use terms like ‘antibiotic-free’ as a point of differentiation,” he explained. “It drives awareness much more so than activist groups.”
It doesn’t even stop there. Pediatricians recently warned consumers that antibiotic usage in livestock is putting our children at risk of superbugs. Others, such as the UK-based Independent, promoted a vegetarian diet to curb the industry’s “overuse of antibiotics.”
Not long after releasing a quiz to help consumers understand the role of antibiotics in animal and human health, the Center for Accountability in Science came out with a video to further hit home the main points of the so-called “antibiotic-free meat.”
Click here or watch the video above for the full clip.
If you don’t have two minutes to spare, here is the Reader’s Digest version of the video: all meat, regardless of whether it has been labeled as “antibiotic-free” or not, has no antibiotic residue – thanks to strict guidelines from the USDA.
“That means all the meat you eat or buy in the U.S. is already antibiotic-free,” said Dr. Joseph Perrone, chief science officer with the Center for Accountability in Science.
As livestock producers, it’s easy to argue why antibiotics are used in animals. We reiterate our dedication to responsible antibiotics usage and point that humans play a role in antibiotic resistance, too.
Consumers just aren’t listening nor are they understanding.
Katie Olthoff, a blogger and regular contributor to PORK Network, stressed in a commentary here, “To consumers, the issue is simple and one-dimensional. It’s not about animal welfare. It’s not about economics. It’s not about efficient food production.”
She added, “For consumers. The antibiotics issue is about human health, plain and simple.”
As the industry, it’s up to us to listen to consumers and educate them on how animal welfare and human health go hand-in-hand.