Antibiotic use in animal agriculture comes under quite a bit of scrutiny with critics arguing that ranchers should be decreasing the use of antibiotics in beef production. In a report from the National Institute for Animal Agriculture and Merck Animal Health, longtime beef veterinarian and professor Dr. Bob Smith explains that overcoming bacterial resistance is no easy task, for animals and humans alike.
“We started seeing more and more cases where the bacteria were resistant to the antibiotics that we have available,” Smith noted. “That, then, brings us to where we are today. We’re not trying to learn more about antibiotic resistance, how it develops, and also what can we do to use fewer antibiotics.”
Continuing pressure from consumers along with increasing frequency of resistance is pushing current antibiotic use techniques to the limits. Changing bacteria and market trends could cause more change in how antibiotics are administered. “The idea there is to use our antibiotics more wisely, so that we can sustain the life of the antibiotics that we have available to us to use,” said Smith.