This is going to be a little off topic but I wanted to share a few facts(that I know) about beef production, antibiotics and growth enhancing practices.
It has been a long time since I went through a Beef Checkoff Quality Assurance program, but I thought I would pass along some information, take it for what it is worth.
For those that don't know, Beef Checkoff is a program available for beef producers to learn about the proper use of antibiotics and growth enhancing practices. It teaches what drugs to use, proper dosage and how to administer them properly for the most effectiveness and safety. Long gone are the days when you used run down the catwalk and jab everything in the tenderloin to give shots while in the leadup to the head catch. Now everything is given in the neck either IM or subcu., depending on the drug/vaccination as not to bruise or abcess.
All animals must go through a 30 day withdrawal period where it is not given any antibiotics. THIS is where those YouTube videos come from with downed cattle. Usually those are "chronics" that seem like they are always sick, they must go through a withdrawal period of at least 30 days, the only thing keeping them alive was the antibiotics. Then couple that with a truck ride to a kill plant. Stressed animals get sick, stress a sick one and it will die. Just as a side note, anything done with cattle can stress them, moving them to another pasture, loading them on a truck...whatever, but a responsible producer will use the lowest stress methods available.
Also mass treating with antibiotics in the feedlot is highly discouraged. As far as I know sometimes they will do a pen of cattle that were shipped in looking poor and sickly, but not the whole feedyard. I don't see that very cost effective.
That is what pen riders are for. It is their responsibility to check each pen for cattle that are getting sick, get them out and up to the hospital for treatment. Much more cost effective to treat one steer rather than mass treating them all.
Consumers worry about growth hormones, the enviromental impact of cattle but still want their McDonalds Big Mack. Don't know how to fix that one unfortunately...
If USDA/FDA were to ban all use of growth enhancing technologies. The US would have to produce an additional 10 MILLION head of cattle a year, we would need 17 million more acres for grazing and feed growth and 138 Billion more gallons of water for those cattle to meet consumer demands. There needs to be some advancements and compromise.
Every time laws and restrictions are made that impact agriculture production it drives food costs up. Everyone suffers. The beef industry is well aware of the concerns of its consumers and is constantly working on producing healthy, sustainable beef. It can be a little difficult when there is a huge disconnect between consumers and where the beef actually comes from unfortunately. I wish more people were educated on how our world is fed. Farmers and ranchers who make up less than 10% of the population feed us all.
The thought of keeping a "passport" for every steer or heifer that passed through my hands seems ridiculous, again the cost will be driven up of beef. The cost to produce it which will be passed on down to the line. That would be fine and dandy for someone who raises 100 head in the back pastures. But how would one propose to do so when the majority of yearlings that we got came from say AZ, perhaps there were 20,000 head wintered there as weanlings, then divided up and sent to various ranches up north to NV, ID, OR and MT for the summer. Then to make drugs only available to be administered by vet, not logical at all. So my option is to either drive him to a set of pens and tire/stress him more so a vet can get to him, rope and load him in a trailer to a set of pens again so a vet can doctor him, or rope him, tie him down and wait two hours while the vet drives from town or at that time and expense it seems you would be better off shooting him and taking the loss. If anyone ever thinks that vets should be the only ones to administer drugs to cattle for record keeping needs to work on a ranch for a day or two.
Honestly, If the US plans to make horse meat an industry(but not on the same scale as beef obviously)they just need to get the funding for testing the horse meat and regulate it like the beef, treat it the same. But that's just my opinion.
I DON'T LEAD 'EM AND FEED 'EM, I RIDE 'EM AND SLIDE 'EM.
Last edited by COWCHICK77; 10-16-2012 at 08:31 PM.