By John Maday
The livestock industry faces growing pressures to reduce antibiotic use, particularly the use of medically important drugs for production or performance purposes. In response, the FDA issued its Guidance for Industry 213, which directs companies to remove performance claims from antibiotic labels by December 2016. These impending changes raise questions regarding the potential economic impacts resulting from raising livestock without the use of antibiotics for performance purposes.
To address that issue, the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) recently issued a report titled The Economics of Antibiotic Use in U.S. Livestock Production. This week, ERS Economist Stacy Sneeringer presented a webinar discussing key findings in the report.
Sneeringer began with background on antibiotic use in livestock, explaining there are four categories for how antibiotics are labeled and applied. These are for preventing, controlling and treating disease, with the fourth category for production or performance purposes such as increased daily weight gain. Those performance uses were the focus of the report and the webinar.
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