But will my Iowa chop taste as good without tetracycline?

The FDA is asking farmers and ranchers very nicely to pretty please stop pumping our nation’s livestock full of antibiotics.

FDA Launches Voluntary Plan to Reduce Use of Antibiotics In Animals by Dan Charles for NPR, Apr. 11, 2012

Farm animals in the U.S. actually consume far more antibiotics than people do in part because producers want to keep their animals healthy. But a big reason animals routinely get antibiotics is that the drugs also make them grow faster.

For years, the FDA has been saying that practice is both unnecessary and dangerous. It increases the chances that bacteria in animals will become resistant to drugs — and those drug-resistant bacteria can then infect people. But that hasn’t significantly reduced use.

Sounds reasonable to regulate this, right?  Antibiotic superbugs are as scary as they are dangerous.  Plus, doping just to increase growth rate can’t be good.  (Side note, on the other hand, maybe I should start pumping my daughter full of antibiotics to promote growth.)  Well, with such serious concerns, I’m glad that the FDA is putting their foot down and banning the overuse of these medicines!  Oops, nope, no foot putting down, just very nicely asking, “stop please, maybe, mmkay?”

Scott Hurd, a veterinary scientist at Iowa State University, says that the voluntary approach will have a real effect on farmers’ practices. “Even though it’s called guidance, people take it as the gospel and the law, so growth promotion usages will go away,” he says.

In other words Dr. Hurd is saying that since it will be treated as the law, no need to make it the law.  Well, shoot, if that’s the case why do we bother with any laws related to agriculture?  Let’s just ask real nicely and trust that farmers will just play along even if making a change would negatively affect their bottom line.



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