Subway admits antibiotics have their place in animal agriculture

When Subway announced it would be going “antibiotic-free,” the agricultural industry was quick to respond. Although the chain isn’t changing its tune, it has issued a statement about the benefits of antibiotics to treat sick animals.

A Handbook for Ranch Managers I’m reminded of the DDT ban which came about because it was allegedly accumulating in the food chain causing thin shells in Paragon Falcon eggs (when mama falcon sit on them, they broke).

All well and good but we never hear anything about how many third worlders died from Malaria as a result of the ban.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual That seems to be the direction in which the use of antibiotics in livestock production is headed.

Never forget. All government actions have unintended consequences. — jtl, 419

by in BEEF Daily

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewLast week, Subway announced it would phase out meat that comes from animals that had been given antibiotics. This “antibiotic-free” move outraged the animal agricultural industry, with many pointing out that whether it’s natural or conventional meat, all meat is antibiotic free, thanks to withdrawal times and other considerations described by Beef Quality Assurance protocols.

Combat Shooter's Handbook Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps Institute The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsThe producer outcry over this announcement had Subway execs thinking twice, and shortly after the sandwich chain’s move made the rounds, they switched gears and changed their statement to read:

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)  The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)“Our goal is to reduce and eliminate the use of antibiotics in the food we serve. Elimination of antibiotics use in our supply chain will take time, but we are working diligently with our suppliers to find quality solutions that also ensure our high quality and food safety standards are upheld and not compromised in any way. Our plan is to eliminate the use of antibiotics in phases with the initial focus on the poultry products that we serve in the U.S. We are in the process of transitioning to chicken products made from chicken raised without antibiotics and expect this transition to be completed by the end of 2016. In addition, turkey products made from turkey raised without antibiotics will be introduced in 2016. The transition is expected to take 2-3 years. Supply of pork and beef products from animals raised without antibiotics in the U.S. is extremely limited. We expect our transition to take place by 2025. That said, we recognize that antibiotics are critical tools for keeping animals healthy and that they should be used responsibly to preserve their effectiveness in veterinary and human medicine. (Emphasis mine.) Our policy is that antibiotics can be used to treat, control and prevent disease, but not for growth promotion of farm animals. Accordingly, we are asking our suppliers to do the following:

  • Adopt, implement and comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA’s”) guidance for industry 209 and 213, which requires that medically important antibiotics not be used for growth promotion. Visit the FDA site to learn more.
  • Assure that all antibiotics use is overseen, pre-approved and authorized by a licensed veterinarian before they are administered to any animal.
  • Keep accurate and complete records to track use of all antibiotics.
  • Adhere at all times to all legal requirements governing antibiotic withdrawal times. This assures that antibiotics have been eliminated from the animals’ systems at the time of slaughter.
  • Actively encourage, support and participate in research efforts focused on improving animal health while reducing antibiotics use.”

​VIDEO worth sharing: Learn how antibiotics are used in animal agriculture

Photo Credit: Flickr user Matt Mozart

While I’m disappointed that activist-driven agendas have pushed the growing trend for retailers to transition to “antibiotic-free,” I think there is a window of opportunity for the beef industry to educate Subway and the consumers who eat there about the uses and benefits of antibiotics in livestock. When an animal gets sick, it’s our job to tend to that animal. So banning the use of antibiotics across the board would create huge animal welfare concerns. Of course, prevention is also important, but just like people, a bacteria can make an animal feel pretty darn lousy. So it just makes sense that ranchers should have antibiotics as a tool in their toolbox to address these situations as they arise.

If you ever have an opportunity to discuss antibiotic use in food animals with a consumer, I’ve rounded up three resources that can help beef up your knowledge in this area, including:

1. “Animal antibiotics” from the Animal Health Institute

2. “Following up on Subway” written by Anne Burkeholder, Feedyard Foodie blog

3. “Antibiotics in livestock and poultry production” by the North American Meat

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Penton Agriculture.


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Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualPlanned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual. This is the ideal squeal to A Handbook for Ranch Managers.  Although the ecological principles remain the same, what was originally known as “The Savory Grazing Method” now answers to a multitude of different names: ranching for profit, holistic management, managed grazing, mob grazing, management intensive grazing, etc. Land & Livestock International, Inc. uses “Restoration Grazing” under its “Managing the Ranch as a Business” program.” No mater what you call it, this summary and synopsis will guide you step by step through the process and teach you how to use it as it was originally intended. No more excuses for failing to complete your grazing plans.

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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