As a veterinarian, I was trained to limit animal suffering and took an oath to do so. Caring for animals is why I do what I do—it is my passion. Although antibiotics are not the only tools I use, they are a necessity to treating, controlling and preventing disease in a responsible way.
Policies that eliminate all antibiotics are not right for animals or consumers, and we need to take a balanced approach to judicious use. When an animal becomes sick, our food quantity, quality, and affordability decreases; with the population expected to surpass 9 billion people in just 30 years, we need all of the healthy, safe, nutritious food we can get! And while you may think that animals living in the wild don’t get sick, the reality is that all animals are prone to sickness and disease. We see the same for mankind: Is it probable to believe that if we just changed the size of our cities, forced a certain workspace, and modified our living conditions we could do without the technology of modern medicine?
I advocate for the voice of reason and want to allow choice—for both the farmer and consumer. When choice is limited, it may have repercussions that are harmful for animals. Not allowing the use of antibiotics for treatment, prevention, and control of disease causes harm to animals and the environment. In the next few years, demand for animal protein such as meat, milk, and eggs will climb 60 percent. We rely on these animals to provide nutritious, healthy, safe food for the growing population, and a large part of this means ensuring that we do not jeopardize their health.
It may sound good to limit something for your benefit, but does it benefit our world as a whole? Withholding antibiotics from animals that need them is harmful to the animals and difficult for the caretakers. When used responsibly and in parallel with good animal care practices, antibiotics protect both animal and human well-being by enhancing food safety, preventing disease, and treating animals should they become exposed to disease. As a veterinarian, I want to be able to use antibiotics judiciously as I was trained.
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