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John Block Reports from Washington

RSS By: John Block,

John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food and health.

The Issue of Herd Health

Apr 25, 2013

The first day of May isn’t far off, and we don’t have one grain of corn planted. Last year, we had finished planting corn by May 1. After last year’s drought, the whole Midwest is living with wet fields and cold soil.

I remind myself that our time will come. It always does. "Patience, patience."

So today, let’s concentrate on another issue. The Congress is working to reauthorize the Animal Drug User Fee Act. This has revived a longstanding dispute over the use of drugs in raising and treating animals.

Critics argue that the use of drugs on animals results in resistance to the drugs. The livestock industry counters with a number of studies, including the Food and Drug Administration stating that results indicate that the risk to human health is "negligible."

In the New York Times, Professor Charles Hofacre, University of Georgia professor of veterinary medicine and the National Center for Food Safety pointed out that there is no connection between antibiotic resistance and livestock use of antibiotics. Science is on the side of the livestock industry on this one.

There is another way to look at this whole question. People take medicine and antibiotics for all kinds of health problems. When suffering, take something for pain relief. Do you have an infection? Use some antibiotics.

Isn’t the humane thing to do when your pigs get the flu is to doctor them? If your dog was suffering, you wouldn’t hesitate to get medicine for him. Where are the animal rights people? Where is the Humane Society? They should be standing up to support the animals.

We don’t give our pigs antibiotics all the time. However, when baby pigs get sick, we consult with our veterinarian and give them the prescribed medicine. Healthy animals provide healthy food. Antibiotics are a vital tool in managing herd health. The consumer should want a healthy food supply.

In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to


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COMMENTS (1 Comments)

Ric Ohge - Belmond, IA
We have super-bugs, even in our Health Care Facilities, things like Antibiotic resistant forms of Staph, Strep, and our vectoring agents-ALL due to the over-prescription of Antibiotics, the overuse of antibiotic agents in cleaning, etc. This is documented even by such "Liberal" Groups as the NIH, the AMA and research hospitals around the country. So this couldn't happen with animal overuse-right? And people who suggest it are just "critics" of the "suppressed truth of the matter"? You're a Doctor and a Public Servant, you have access to the same info the rest of us have-and perhaps even more. It's time to stand up for "We The People", especially the Livestock Producers who look to you for "wise counsel", and start giving them some.
10:43 AM Apr 30th

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