Antibiotic use in livestock is one of the most discussed and misunderstood topics in agriculture today, but the newest North American Meat Institute “Glass Walls” video aims to clarify exactly how, when and why antibiotics are used in animals. The video features a virtual tour of a livestock production facility from University of Nebraska and Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center veterinarian Brad Jones.
Jones explains the decision-making process regarding antibiotic use in cattle and pigs, including the diagnosis of illnesses, treatment and antibiotic use considerations and how animals are tracked from antibiotic administration to harvest.
“I think the use of antibiotics in our industry is appropriate and I would also use the term responsible. It’s appropriate for animal well-being and comfort. It’s appropriate to treat certain diseases that affect the animal,” Jones says. “How we utilize antibiotics and the decisions we make when we give them have a lot of thought behind them; not only thought because we’re mandated to because of laws and rules, but thought because we understand the importance of maintaining use of antibiotics in our industry for the health and well-being of animals.”
Supplementing other resources
The video was created by NAMI as a way to give interested consumers an inside look at the process of using antibiotics in livestock while addressing many of the common misconceptions about their use. It supplements NAMI’s variety of resources on antibiotic use including the “Facts About Antibiotics in Livestock and Poultry Production” brochure and several “Meat Mythcrusher” videos tackling common antibiotic myths such as 80% of antibiotics are used in animals, antibiotics are commonly used for growth promotion and animal agriculture is the biggest contributor to antibiotic resistance.
“Consumers are being bombarded with confusing and often inaccurate messages about how antibiotics are used in livestock production. Often, these messages suggest there is little oversight or control of the process, but a closer look on the farm shows this is clearly not the case,” says NAMI Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Janet Riley. “The role of the veterinarian is crucial in ensuring proper animal care and we are grateful that Dr. Jones could explain the considerations and procedures that veterinarians follow. We hope that this video will be useful to consumers who may want more information.”
The video is the ninth in NAMI’s “Glass Walls” series. Other videos include tours of beef, pork and turkey processing plants led by Temple Grandin to show how the animals are handled throughout processing. “Glass Walls” videos also show sanitation in meat plants as well as how hamburgers, hot dogs and bacon are made. All of NAMI’s videos are available on the Meat News Network YouTube channel.