Animal Health and NutritionAnimal health is a critical issue affecting the concept of raising animals, especially for food purposes. The topic of animal health is very broad, and it covers areas such as animal welfare, health and food safety, and security. There are some organizations and laws whose main aim is to promote animal health. This is because animals should be raised in the best scientifically recommended ways to avoid them the contracting disease. Many of the diseases contracted by animals raised for food can also affect human beings who consume the animal products (Choffnes 352). The use of antibiotics and other drugs to stimulate growth and for other purposes related to livestock rearing is very high in the world today. This practice is acceptable in some countries while in others it is illegal. Those who reject or support this practice base their reasoning on issues such as food security, food safety, profitability, ethics, misuse of drugs, animal health and wealth and drug resistance. This research paper aims at finding out the effects (both positive and negative) of using antibiotics on Food animals such as poultry, pigs, beef cattle, dairy cattle, meat and milk producing goats among others. Some of the questions of major concern include, What are the negative or harmful effects of using antibiotics on food animals? And, What are the positive or constructive effects of using antibiotics on food animals? The paper seeks to find out constructive/ positive and harmful/ negative effects of using antibiotics on livestock raised for food/ food animals.
The world today has become highly business minded and focused. Many people are looking for ways to increase their income, and one of such ways is to engage in agriculture. This involves among other agricultural activities raising animals to produce meat, milk, eggs among other animal products that can be consumed or used to manufacture other products consumed by human beings. For this reason, there is the need to uphold ethics in the way these animals are raised. Famers need to be aware of the best processes and procedures to use when treating, feeding, caring, stimulating and raising animals. There is a great risk of contradicting diseases that affect animals either through the food chain or direct transmission as a result of interacting with animals. The desire for money should not blind farmers and thus result in using methods that risk the lives of the animals or consumers. They should use safe ways to increase the rate of growth, meat, milk and other product capacity and preventing the animals from contracting deadly diseases.
Over the past few years, many farmers have resulted to scientifically proven and unproven methods, processes and procedures of raising food animals. One common method is the use of antibiotics in treating animals as well as their feeds. The use of antibiotics in food animals/ livestock could be defined as using antibiotics to stimulate faster growth in livestock, treat diseases and also for the purpose of animal husbandry (Choffnes 341). Today it is very common to find farmers, livestock owners and veterans using antibiotics as well as antifungal and other drugs for various purposes especially stimulate growth and increase the size of livestock within an unnaturally short time.
Though some veterinarians have argued on the advantages of using such drugs in animals, this act is prohibited in some countries. It is termed as misuse of drugs. It is also prohibited in these countries because it is seen as unethical and also because it leads to increasing of antibiotic and these other drug resistance not only in the animal but also in human beings. According to WOAH, human drug resistance is something that has been happening for many years and thus should not be blamed the use of antibiotics on livestock (Choffnes 311). According to WOAH restricting the use of antibiotics and other drugs on livestock will affect negatively the health/ wellbeing of animals as well as the economic production of food. Food Safety and Quality (110) says that the use of antibiotics in food animal has a positive impact on food security because it increases the level of food production. This consequently ensures that there is enough food to feed the soaring populations across the world. This is contrary. Research has shown that prohibiting the use of antibiotics in food animal production will affect food security and increase the cost of protein. Agricultural sector should not only be focused on providing plenty of food. It should also focus on ensuring quality and safety of the food to avoid future negative effects on the health of consumers (The Use of Drugs in Food Animals 25).
This research investigated the impacts of using antibiotics in food animals. This was a quantitative, qualitative research study. It used both interviews and questionnaires to collect the data to answer the research questions. The study was conducted in two countries in which one restricts the use of antibiotics, and the other encourages the use of antibiotics in food animals. This is imperative to the whole nutritional function in animals as living organisms.
First the research study involved interviewing the key stakeholders in animal production in each of the countries in which the study was taking place. The interview sought to find out how these key stakeholders view the issue of using antibiotics and other drugs on food animals. Through this interview the advantages, disadvantages and another useful information regarding the research topic were collected and recorded.
The next step was to compare the food safety, rate of antibiotic drug resistance, food security and the contribution of livestock production to the country’s economic stability and revenue. The researcher used a qualified doctor to test and ascertain the food safety level of meat, eggs and milk from animals belonging to selected farmers in the two countries. 20 farmers were selected in each of the two countries to participate in the study. 20 farmers in one country that prohibit the use of antibiotics and 20 farmers from the country that allows the use of antibiotics in food animals. The level of food security in the two countries was be measured by looking at the cost of protein and animal products in the two countries. The level of antibiotic drug resistance was be measured by obtaining information and statistics from 4 leading hospitals and research centers in each of the two countries where the study took place. The contributions or the input of the agriculture sector to the country’s revenue was received by looking at the tax collected from the sector over the past four years. Comparison of the results between the two countries was done to know the effects of using antibiotics
According to there are more benefits of using antibiotics on food animals as compared to problems. Though the level of antibiotic drug resistance on human beings increases with the use of antibiotics on food animals/ livestock, it leads to increased food security, food production, revenue.
- Choffnes, Eileen R. Improving Food Safety Through a One Health Approach: Workshop Summary. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press, 2012. Print.
- Food Safety and Quality: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Agricultural Research and General Legislation of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, United States Senate, Ninety-Fifth Congress, First[-Second] Session. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off, 2007. Print.
- The Use of Drugs in Food Animals: Benefits and Risks. Washington, D.C: National Academy Press, 2009. Print.