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From the Barnyard


Mike Graves

Mike Graves

I defended the use of antibiotics in this column a few weeks ago and said modern animal agriculture would be futile without antibiotics. I stand by that statement – with some amendments, if I may.
In this week’s CattleRange.com is an article about animal antibiotics presented by Ag Center, USA. I greatly appreciated the article, as it was published in an animal industry publication without animosity toward the consumer concerned about the use of antibiotics.
According to the article, “There is broad overuse of antibiotics in both human health and animal health treatments. There is also solid evidence that the broad use of antibiotics contributes to resistance of disease in the environment. In addition, death loss percentages of calves have risen to unheard of levels at the same time animal medicine costs have skyrocketed.”
The article boldly confronts whom they call “Big Phama,” or pharmaceutical companies they say have banned effective generic antibiotics such as gentamycin and spectam, replacing them with more expensive, branded products – an accusation that should make every rancher angry.
Corporations have to show a profit, but not a gross one. Corporations have to convince and entice ranchers, just don’t do it with a swanky meal and a gift. Entice us with effective, competitively priced medicines.
Give us credit for not being dumb. We can tell how effective your product is by how many calves we drag off.
Ranchers had better get ready for more government intervention, and more pressure from the medical community – and some of it is justified. The big pharmaceuticals should share in helping us reduce death loss and health challenges by promoting judicious use of their product.
In the near future, any animal that has been administered any antibiotic will have to be identified and recorded, making use of the antibiotic even more difficult and expensive.
Cattlemen need to process and wean calves on the farm or else be prepared to accept substantial discounts from the few companies willing to handle cattle without a documented health program.
Thank you for your time. Now, join me as we go back to 1972 and hear my new 8 track tape, “Electric Warrior,” by T-Rex.

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