Alex and Jessica Policy Paper

Alex Weborg and Jessica Hudelson
Rachel Robson
September 23, 2009

The use of antibiotics for veterinary related purposes account for almost 50% of all antibiotics used globally (3). An estimated 70% of all U.S antibiotics and related drugs are used nontherapeutic in animal agriculture (5). Due to limited drugs approved for the use in food animals veterinarians are often required to use drugs for these animals in a manner that is not in accordance with the approved label. This means changing dosages, frequency of drug administration, and uses for diseases other than those suggested by the label. Antibiotics are chemical compounds that destroy bacteria (3). When bacteria are exposed to antibiotics many are rendered inactive, but some resistant bacteria live on to reproduce more of the same bacteria containing the resistant traits (4). Resistant bacteria can be transferred from animals to humans in three ways: consumption of meat from cattle, working in livestock industry, livestock effect on environment (5). Resistant human diseases strongly linked to the agricultural overuse of antibiotics include food poisoning caused by Salmonella or Campylobacter and post surgical infections caused by Enterococcus and many heath issues linked to Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria (2).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implements regulations to ensure that antibiotics residues in food animal products are not harmful to human health and to preserve medication commonly used in human medicine (1). A withdrawal time for veterinary drugs is a result of these regulations. A withdraw time is the time needed after drug administration to a food animal to insure that drug residues may not be found in meat, milk, or any other edible product marketed from the animal. Each antibiotic administer to an animal has a specific withdraw time. Often times the withdrawal periods are not met in some animals causing antibiotic residues which are consumed by humans, thus causing humans to contain unnecessary antibiotics later causing antibiotic resistance.
As managers of a full functioning feedlot we have found a proper policy for cutting back on antibiotic resistance in our cattle and cattle to human resistance. Our first approach will be to enforce drugs to be used according to the label when dealing with dosages and frequency of dosages. By doing this we will work together with our veterinarian to ensure the labels are being followed. We are going to have our veterinarian certify our cowboy staff to properly administer the drugs to the appropriate cattle. This will create less antibiotic resistance because there will be fewer opportunities for bacteria to become resistant to the inappropriate use of antibiotics. Secondly we will be enforcing a longer withdraw period to ensure that antibiotic residues will not be transferred from our cattle to the consumer. We will be keeping proper records in our computer system to ensure cattle shipment is not done before withdraw periods are met with specific antibiotics. Our records will show how much of each drug is given, how many cattle are receiving each antibiotic, how many days cattle remain in yard, desired withdraw period, and estimated shipment date.
Due to the antibiotic choices, dosages, and withdraw periods there will be an increase in expenditures causing our meat prices to rise for the consumer. We will be keeping the cattle longer which increase the cost of feed and yardage. To counter act this argument we will stress the importance of cutting down cases of antibiotic resistance transfers, and rising antibiotic resistant cases in cattle. Because we are keeping the cattle longer to ensure withdraw period success we will not be producing as much meat in a specific time frame. This production downfall will be minimal, and beneficial to the consumer.

1. Manges A et al. 2001. New England Journal of Medicine 345(14):1007-1013
2. Swartz M. 2002. Clinical Infectious Diseases 34:S111-S122.
3. Tuber, M. 2001 Current Opinion in Microbiology 4(5):493-499
4. White DG et al. 2001 New England Journal of Medicine 345(16): 1147-1154
5. Levy SB, FitzGerald GB, Macone AB. 1976. New England Journal of Medicine 295: 583-588

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