Dr. Karl Dawson, Chief Scientific Officer and VP at Alltech, talked antibiotics at the recent REBELation in the beef breakout session. Companies like McDonald’s and Costco have said no to antibiotics. Is it time for the industry to be a REBEL and say no too?
“The term antibiotic is somewhat controversial. I prefer to talk about antimicrobials. The use of antimicrobials has been around in livestock since the 1940’s. It is something we have used to address diseases, cure bacterial infections, but the most controversial part of that has been to use them as materials to enhance growth in livestock.”
“The big concern about using those right now has been the progressive change or selection of bacteria that resist the antimicrobial.” Dr. Dawson said that the thought process behind this is we are propitiating it by continuing to use antimicrobials in livestock. He added that we should have known this we going to happen years ago and the banning of antimicrobials will change the industry because they have been relied upon for so long.
There are alternatives. But there isn’t a one-size fits all package to replace them. “It is going to be a thought process; a management process that will need to take place.” Dr. Dawson also stated that a simple ban may not be the answer to our problems. “The antibiotic resistance bacteria that are out there have been selected for and we will not eliminate those by simply stopping the use today.”
In the long-term, he said the industry needs to look at strategies that not only limit the development, but also depress antibiotic resistant bacteria and select against them.
Listen to my complete interview with Dr. Dawson to learn more about antimicrobials here: Interview with Dr. Karl Dawson, Alltech
Don’t forget to check out photos from the event here: 2015 Alltech REBELation Photo Album