Healthy Dose of Fear Drives Consumer Views in Antibiotic Debate

This week I have been sicker than a dog with a strep infection and some type of bronchitis-type junk. I’m taking antibiotics. I’m drinking orange juice. Obviously, I’m thankful for the availability of antibiotics, and (in between coughing fits), I’m following the ongoing debate about antibiotic use in livestock production, which is a hot topic in the news yet again.

This week I have been sicker than a dog with a strep infection and some type of bronchitis-type junk. I’m taking antibiotics. I’m drinking orange juice. Obviously,  I’m thankful for the availability of antibiotics, and (in between coughing fits), I’m following the ongoing debate about antibiotic use in livestock production, which is a hot topic in the news yet again.

National Public Radio’s (NPR) “On Point” program recently addressed the question, “Are antibiotics in our meat breeding superbugs?”  The program featured comments from Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NY,  Mike Apley, a veterinarian and researcher at Kansas State University, Lance Price, professor of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University and Stephen McDonnell, founder and CEO of Applegate, a producer of organic and natural meats.

The NPR show opens with the statement  professing that 80% of all antibiotics sold in the United States are sold for animals.  That certainly gets listener attention. You may remember a recent article in which Richard Raymond, MD, former undersecretary for food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says the oft-cited statistic that 80% of antibiotics sold in the United States are used in animals is highly misleading. He has indicated that  87% of the specific kinds of antibiotics used in animals are rarely or never used in humans. It seems that the statistic is being used as a scare tactic. But let’s not get distracted by facts just yet.



Like what you're reading? Subscribe to the National Hog Farmer Weekly Wrap Up newsletter and get the latest news delivered right to your inbox every Friday!


Slaughter tells NPR listeners that livestock producers use of “bags” of antibiotics. “It’s the equivalent of putting antibiotics on your child’s Cheerios every day,” Slaughter says on the radio show. Again, this sounds a lot like fear-mongering to me.  However, it seems to be an effective strategy when it comes to stirring up a radio audience, because there were more people calling in to comment than the show had time to run on the air.

If you are a pork producer, what action do you think our industry should be taking on this issue? It would be worth your time to listen to this show online. It’s interesting to hear the thought-provoking comments from people with genuine concerns. If you don’t have time to listen, you should at least read the comments listed underneath the summary.

Slaughter recently introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, or PAMTA, for the fourth time since 2007. The bill would ban non-therapeutic uses of medically important antibiotics in food animal production. She is working hard to drum up support for her legislative efforts.

On yet another front, the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®) placed a letter to the editor in the New York Times print edition today. The letter was written by Charles Hofacre, DVM, professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Georgia. The letter was written  in response to a recently run New York Times opinion piece by David Kessler, former FDA commissioner, titled “Antibiotics and the Meat We Eat.” The Kessler piece details his belief that the livestock industry is impacting the crisis of antibiotic resistance in humans. The opinion piece states that the FDA does not know enough about antibiotic-resistant bacteria coming out of livestock facilities, and antibiotics are being given to healthy livestock, thus breeding super bugs in humans.

In response,  Hofacre’s letter points out that there is no proven link to antibiotic treatment failure in humans because of antibiotic use in animals for consumption. He also notes that antibiotics are used judiciously under veterinary guidance and FDA guidelines, and are primarily used to treat sick animals or prevent illness.

It’s a complicated issue, and all of these opinions floating through radio waves, cyberspace, and printed in the popular press are being heard by people with real, valid concerns. As a producer, how would you respond? What would you like consumers to know about how their food is produced?  Leave your opinion in the Comments section below, or email The outcome of these conversations has the potential to have a definite impact on your farm and your animals.

You might also like:

Five Meetings Address FDA’s Plans for Antibiotics

Be Ready for Antibiotic Restrictions

Discuss this Blog Entry 28

Wanda Patsche (not verified)
on Apr 5, 2013

The NPR broadcast was very interesting. It has given me a lot to think about. On our farm, we have made a lot of changes to help prevent illness in our animals. Our sow farm uses the bio-filter system, we require people to shower in/shower out, we are receiving our hogs as one group with all the pigs born within a week old of each, and we also work closely with our veterinarian on a comprehensive vaccination program.

I foresee management changes that prevent illness to continue. I also believe that antibiotic use will be re-examined to make sure antibiotics are used judiciously. But perhaps is most important is these changes be based on research and scientific data and not from fear mongering tactics. Farmers like making decisions based on research and science. But on the other hand, we need to be responsive to what our consumers want. With some work, I think the two sides can meet.

on Apr 21, 2014

This debate has been for years and they still cannot conclude what to do about it.

buy instagram likes
buy instagram comments

LSMandel (not verified)
on Apr 7, 2013

I think we should also point out that the antibiotics used in pigs are not the same type used in humans.

on Jan 8, 2014

Mmm.. good to be here in your article or post, whatever, I think I should also work hard for my own website like I see some good and updated working in your site.
 jean-luc boeuf

on Jan 10, 2014

Staying healthy has become a challenge these days. It's paradoxical because medicine has never gone this far and yet the risks of getting ill are growing higher: pollution, food, water, lifestyle, they all contribute to our "well-being". I read some interesting points about that on this reformed source. It gave me so much to think about.

on Jan 27, 2014

Antibiotics cure diseases but the side effects are also there so it should be used carefully.

on Feb 20, 2014

I also believe that antibiotic use will be re-examined to make sure antibiotics are used judiciously APKLate

on Mar 20, 2014

RD points out that the pig is one of the most unhealthy Meat among the others as the pig meat contains a lot of virus which badly harms us. Proper cooking is the only way to reduce them. Good post

on Mar 28, 2014

I agree with your blog and i will be back to check it more in the future so please keep up your work. michael kors outleti love your content & the way that you write. what does bubblegum casting do

on Mar 31, 2014

It was great to see the old printshop and everyone who works there again. I am excited to see a printing business still operating and growing, great job guys

on Apr 11, 2014

Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. kontorimööbel

on Apr 11, 2014

Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info.

on Apr 12, 2014

Thanks for writing such a good article, I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing... Dermatologia

on Apr 17, 2014

Businessman in order to reap high profits, the use of chemical reagents. National food safety authorities should be strictly checked.

on Apr 21, 2014

I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.
santa clara home inspector review

on Apr 24, 2014

I like your post. It is good to see you verbalize from the heart and clarity on this important subject can be easily observed. hormone replacement

on Apr 24, 2014

This was a really outstanding post. In theory I'd like to compose like this too - taking time and real effort to make a solid article..
Medium Hairstyles | Mens Hairstyles | Black Women Hairstyles

on Apr 29, 2014

This week I have been sicker than a dog with a strep infection and some type of bronchitis-type junk. I’m taking antibiotics. Dermatologista

on Apr 30, 2014

Hi I found your site by mistake when i was searching yahoo for this acne issue, I must say your site is really helpful I also love the design, its amazing!. I don’t have the time at the moment to fully read your site but I have bookmarked it and also add your RSS feeds. I will be back in a day or two. thanks for a great site.
buy fifa 14 ultimate team coins

on May 3, 2014

Mmm.. good to be here in your article or post, whatever, I think I should also work hard for my own website like I see some good and updated working in your site.
design dc

on May 11, 2014

When you buy from any store on ArtYou, you’re directly supporting an independent painter. Each shop on ArtYou has unique police. If you have a question about a painting or an order, you can deal directly with the painter.funny pacifier for new born babies

on May 18, 2014

The post is so informative containing the images that will make this blog more outstanding in comparison to others maybe this post needs to be briefed here. Thanks for spreadingt his sites.

buy low cost twitter followers

on May 29, 2014

I simply want to tell you that I am new to weblog and definitely liked this blog site. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your blog . You absolutely have wonderful stories. Cheers for sharing with us your blog.

on Jun 14, 2014

I hope the information you provide in your articles that are useful to help others in dealing with the problems of bitterness, and that all feel relief after completing the problem.

and for that I also had an interesting info for my friends here from Cipto Junaedy with a good strategy to have knowledge about properties like this he expected us to be independent and the more authoritative because Mr Cipto Junaedy is a master of the property and many know the world Desain Rumah Minimalis and also My Otomotif

on Jun 16, 2014

Saat ini anda bisa memesan banyak barang unik dan barang kebutuhan sehari-hari dari dunia maya. Sebagai contoh anda bisa memesan sabun pemutih amoorea dari website seperti, di mana anda akan emndapatkan harga murah. buka di sini. jam tangan unik dan murah kami ada beberapa pilihan sabun amoorea original
Atau anda juga bisa mendapatkan layanan jual jaket korea online yang menyediakan jaket keren untuk anda. Sekarang anda bisa bergaya ke mana saja dan tentu saja anda akan mendapatkan ini dengan harga murah dan kualitas import. klik URL ini. jaket korea ini ditawarkan dalam berbagai model Model jaket korea yang keren semakin diminati
Atau anda suka yang buatan lokal seperti distro dari bandung? Itu juga ada. Anda bisa mendapatkan jaket couple untuk anda dan pasangan anda dengan harga yang sangat terjangkau dan desain yang sangat menarik. Anda bisa melihat produknya di sini. kunjungi website. Jaket couple keren dan harga murah ini bisa anda dapatkan dengan penawaran berikut, Ini dia bisnis jaket couple terbaru di kota bandung
Jika anda suka dengan produk yang tradisional juga ada. Anda bisa mendapatkan batik pekalongan dan sarung berkualitas dengan sistem jual grosir dari penyalur terpercaya seperti Anda bisa melihat bisnisnya berkembang seperti ini. lihat produk. Dapatkan sarung, baju batik, dan jilbab murah aneka model di sini jual online jilbab pun anda di dunia maya
Kalau anda tertarik untuk belajar SEO atau membuat blog silahkan mampir ke blog ricky pratama dan mencoba semua koleksi materi yang kami miliki di sini anda akan mendapatkan tutorial yang terbaik dan mudah untuk diikuti. Dapatkan tips terbaik tentang cara membuat blog dan SEO di sini, jasa backlink murah pagerank tinggi
Bagi anda yang fashionista anda bisa mencoba mencari berbagai desain fashion untuk anda dari website yang sudah terpercaya seperti yang menyediakan berbagai model sepatu, tas, dan baju wanita. klik di sini. Jika anda ingin membeli sepatu wanita lihat koleksinyadapatkan sepatu wanita yang dijual online dengan ragam model

on Jun 25, 2014

Thanks for the information.
asian retreats

on Jul 5, 2014

Thanks for this great Information
Girls | Popular Laser Tattoo Removal Techniques

on Jul 21, 2014

Hello there I came across your blog by mistake as i ended up being searching aol Mobile wallet due to this acne concern, I have to say your blog is basically very helpful My partner and i in addition appreciate the structure, the wonderful!. My partner and i don’t possess the time presently to completely understand your blog yet We've book marked the item and in addition put ones RSS OR ATOM bottles. I am back everyday or a couple of. appreciate it to get a great internet site.

Please or Register to post comments.

What's National Hog Farmer Blog?

Thoughts about the pork industry this week.

Blog Archive

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×