Veterinary Feed Directive

(Mike) The Veterinary Feed Directive essentially puts veterinarians in charge of all medically important antibiotics that are used in the feed of food animals. The only antibiotic we use for growth promotion on a large scale is the group called the ionophores. They are not included in the medically important group. There is not even a reasonable hypothesis that they could contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans. They greatly increase our feed efficiency in these animals. For other drugs about 70 percent are the tetracyclines. And about 97 percent of what’s sold with the food animal label today are over the counter. And that’s because the feed and the water uses dominate the amount that’s sold and used. That is fixed with the Veterinary Feed Directive and the requirement that those water drugs go prescription in 2017, the first day of 2017. And we do use a macrolide drug called tylosin, in some cattle to help reduce liver abscess occurrence. We do use some tetracyclines in the feed to help treat or prevent diseases such as respiratory disease. The labels for treatment of that when they first arrive sometimes. So, we do continue to use those antibiotics. We’re continuing to evaluate them. When we start talking about just yanking antibiotics out of a system, we have an issue of our stewardship responsibility to the animals. But one of the most catastrophic things we could have happen is for people to just make the draconian move that you can’t use antibiotics at all. And then instead of an evolution of antibiotic use, we have a drastic sudden change that will cause an economic and animal welfare catastrophe. So, my message is we’re on it, we’re using them as judiciously as possible, expect to see changes. But if we drive the changes, it’s going to be best for everyone.

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