CATCH THE BUZZ – Animal Agriculture and Antibiotics: 7 Things to Consider

By Alison Rice Markets and News Editor

The issue of antibiotic use in animal agriculture raises more than a few big questions, both inside and outside the ag community.

How much–or how few—antibiotics should be given to food animals? Who should be making those decisions—farmers, veterinarians, policymakers, doctors, food and restaurant companies, or consumers? How will we know what are truly best practices for animal health and human health?

“In all this conversation about antimicrobial resistance, we tend to get a little insular in our thinking,” said Jerome Lyman, speaking at Wednesday’s Farm Foundation Forum on antibiotic use in animal agriculture. “Whether we come from the medical profession, the animal health profession (or) we are producers, we are regulators, we write public policy, I think it’s helpful to think a little bit from the point of view of a consumer. What I can share with you is that the consumer is pretty confused about this whole issue and … we are all at least partly to blame because we got stuck in our own circles and forgot to understand that what we are really dealing with here is the integrity and the perception of the food consumers eat, especially in the area of animal protein.”

Lyman, a former vice president at McDonald’s Corp., where he oversaw the fast-food giant’s global quality systems, joined speakers from the agriculture, policy, and regulatory communities at the Washington, D.C., event.

How can ag and others move forward on the complicated issue of antibiotics in animal agriculture? Here are seven factors influencing the issue, based on Wednesday’s discussion among the panelists and attendees.

Read the rest of this Anitbiotic issues article at