With the implementation of the VFD rule, livestock producers who want to feed medicated feed or mineral will have to contact a vet and get a prescription before going to the feed store to purchase these medications. This has a lot of people concerned on how much hassle this will be to acquire these medications and the added fact that large animal vets are becoming scarce in many parts of the country. As usual, these rules will affect the small livestock operations the most.
At this time, administration of simple medications is not affected, but I would look for these to be coming in the future. The reason given for this rule is the increase in resistance to antibiotics and the creation of “superbugs” in both animals and humans. The livestock industry is a big consumer of antibiotics.
There are many opinions as to what has brought us to this situation and whether the new regulations are truly needed. One question I have tried to research the last few weeks is whether our cattle are healthier now than in the past, before we had easy access to these medications. Are the survival rates among stocker operations any higher today?