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Proper antibiotic-use helps prevent livestock disease

Published Mar. 31, 2010 | Discuss this article on Facebook

Written Thursday, March 18, 2010

Antibiotic use in livestock has been a source of controversy in the United States, but a Purdue University animal scientist said it can be an effective method of disease prevention and treatment when used correctly.

"Antibiotics are used in two basic ways," said Paul Ebner. "One use is to treat a specific disease. But they also are used preventatively. This is to prevent disease in general."

"Often, people think all of the livestock feed is laced with antibiotics, and that is just not true," Ebner said. "Every commodity group has guidelines, and the American Veterinary Medical Association has guidelines. The best thing for the producers to do is to work with their veterinarians so they can use these products in the healthiest, most efficient ways possible."

For both consumer and animal safety, not all antibiotics can be used with every species, and producers can't just use them whenever they want, Ebner said.

"Most antibiotics have required withdrawal times, or a specific amount of time the animal must not consume the medication before processing," he said. "This ensures that residues donít remain in the meat."

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