What You Might Not Know About Antibiotics and Hormones in the Livestock Industry

By: Stacy Green

What are antibiotics? Antibiotics are medicine that is used to treat or prevent bacterial infections by either killing or inhibiting the growth of bacteria. When you get sick you go to the doctor and quite often you get antibiotics to treat your sickness. Antibiotics are popular and work very well. As people we depend on this drug all the time to keep us healthy. Why shouldn’t we use it to ensure our livestock (the animals we will consume and put in our bodies) are healthy and sickness free?

With everyone’s fear of the superbug causing panic, more and more people are leaning away from antibiotics. The fear with antibiotics  and livestock is that the antibiotics will stay in the animal and humans will consume them and antibiotic resistance will be transferred. What people don’t realize is that if a livestock animal is given antibiotics they will have to go through a withdrawal period to make sure they are healthy and no longer have medication in their systems. Once they are cleared they are safe for human consumption.

What are hormones? Hormones are a regulatory substance that is transported in tissue fluids like blood to stimulate specific cells or tissues into action. Many people believe hormones are given to quickly increase the growth of animals and get them to slaughter weight faster. This is a dangerous thing because the rest of the body will not be able to grow as quickly and it can cause serious health issues in animals. In some cases with chickens they won’t be able to walk normally. Tyson and their chickens is a good example of the public fearing the use of hormones in the livestock industry. Tyson chickens reach their slaughter weight a couple days faster than other farms do. This is not due to added hormones. Tyson has developed the perfect recipe for its feed. Their secret/ key to success is in their feed, not hormones. It pays off to have scientists and nutritionists work hard to create the perfect balanced feed.

Really the only thing to fear is fear itself in this case. As a consumer we aren’t ingesting a bunch of antibiotics and added growth hormones in our meat. The public’s lack of knowledge and spreading of incorrect information is the cause of unnecessary panic to consumers. Some labels will say antibiotic and hormone free just to get more money from uneducated consumers, but all meats are antibiotic and hormone free. It’s a easy way to make extra money for the same product. Don’t be fooled by a sticker!

No automatic alt text available.Not my images.

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