Antibiotic Resistance with Dr. Dan Thomson

(Jamie) Thanks for staying with us as Dr. Thomson offers insight into the issue of antibiotics resistance.
(Kyle) Hi this is Kyle Bauer from Manhattan, Kansas, at the Kansas Farm Bureau building. Have the opportunity to visit with Dr. Dan Thomson with Kansas State University. I heard your presentation on antibiotics in food and antibiotics resistance. The logic seemed easy to follow and I’d like for you to share that with us. (Dan) Sure. We started out because we have restaurant groups that are saying we want to ban the use of antibiotics in food animals because of the concern of antibiotic resistance in the human population. And our first, the biggest risk of antibiotic resistance in our human population comes from overprescribing habits from human doctors and the human to human transmission of antibiotic resistance. OK? When we move from looking at human to human, a much lower risk is transmission from animals to humans. And the only way we’re going to have transmission of antibiotic resistance and bacteria really from animals, food animals to humans, is going to be through food borne pathogens, which we have a tremendous safeguard and firewall in place, whether it’s FDA approval of products, veterinary/client/patient relationship, withdrawal times and USDA inspection. So, we have the world’s safest food supply. So let’s move to the underdeveloped countries or the third world countries like China or India. And they say if there’s going to be a transmission of…the biggest risk of transmission from animals to humans, would be in the peri-urban areas or the slums of these developing countries like India. And where they don’t have veterinary oversight, where they don’t have withdrawal times, and where you can buy antibiotics on the street corner and people are living with the animals, with the goats, the chickens, the pigs. And so then there’s close proximity of those animals living day to day. They have in-house slaughter and so they don’t have the safeguards, they don’t have the same types of systems in place that we do. (Kyle) Now close proximity of people and animals in the United States and where would that most likely happen? (Dan) It’s where we cohabitate and that would be the small animals. So, our dogs, our cats. And so I hear nobody talking about antibiotic resistance or removing antibiotics from the small animal area of veterinary medicine. And we have to understand that there’s a lot more direct transfer of antibiotic resistance from a dog licking its you-know-what and then licking a child on the face. And I use the same antibiotics in small animal medicine as we do in human. And there’s a lot more direct transmission. So, I think at the end of the day, that’s just kind of the logical approach to understanding the relative risk of antibiotics used in food animal production versus other areas of medicine. And we have to understand that most antibiotic issues with retailers of food products is coming from activists masquerading as consumers wanting us to increase the cost of production of food and decrease people consuming food animal products. (Kyle) And it really doesn’t have anything to do with food safety, only with trying to reduce the amount of meat we consume as Americans. (Dan) That and the marketing and the competitiveness of one retailer versus the other. I don’t have any problem with someone eating natural or organic products. My problem is when somebody tells me that the food I consume from conventional raising of beef cattle isn’t as safe, isn’t as wholesome or isn’t as nutritious as the other types of protein out there. Because it’s just not true. (Kyle) Visiting with Dr. Dan Thomson with Kansas State University This is Kyle Bauer reporting. Back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Come back after the break for Kyle’s visit with Hannah Thompson with the Animal Ag Alliance.

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