"I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we've got to do it right..."
..."We've got to give those animals a decent life and we've got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect. Temple Grandin
For those of us in the livestock industry, I think these are always our goals. Sometimes we get wrapped up in what we are doing, and not looking at how we are doing things... and sometimes we just lack knowledge in certain areas. Consumers continue to be a driving force for changes in our industry. As annoying as it can be at times, it keeps everyone conscience of animal welfare and current practices. Anyone selling pork or beef, to a packing plant, must be PQA (Pork Quality Assurance) or BQA (Beef Quality Assurance) certified. These programs have been put into place, to help educate and review proper protocol for vaccinations, animal handling, proper antibiotic use, biosecurity, transport, appropriate euthanasia methods.
Just want to mention a few things that I feel are important to reiterate....
KEEP PROPER RECORDS!!!! Keep track of animals receiving medications, on individual basis and group basis. You need to keep straight what animals have received antibiotics, to follow appropriate withdrawals but, also for appropriate recording keeping. For VFD's, you must have a record of dates fed. The form we provide to you and the feed mill, will not be enough if you get audited.
Use medications appropriately!!! Medications are labeled to be given certain ways for a reason. Doses should be given at labeled dose, to correct species and by specific route, unless otherwise recommended by your veterinarian. Making changes to route of administration or dose changes the withdrawal. For example... Flunixin meglumine (Banamine) is labeled for IV use only. This holds a 4 day slaughter withdrawal. IF you give this Sub Q or IM... you are likely looking at at a 50+ day withdrawal. One of my favorite newer products in Banamine Transdermal! First off, it is way easier to pour in down a cows back, than trying to get access to a jugular, on beef cow, trying to come out of the chute on top of you... secondly, it is way more likely to be given according to label, when I prescribe it to a client. Another example, Excede... labeled to give at base of ear, it has a short withdrawal (13 days) if given appropriately... because we don't eat the base of the ear. If given in the neck, you are looking at a much, much longer withdrawal.
GIVE MEDICATIONS IN APPROPRIATE AREA OF BODY. Most swine injections are given behind the ear. Most cattle injections are given in the V of the neck. Hind legs are not recommended. Repeat injections cause scarring and fibrous tissue to form.
(Courtesy Wester Locker)
Extra Label drug use. This is sometimes allowed under direct veterinarian of your veterinarian. Label exceptions are usually if there isn't a medication already labeled for the disease or if the label does not specifically list that animal as a recipient. Many drugs are not labeled for sheep/goats... we are allowed to use several labeled bovine drugs in these species. Some medications are prohibited for extra label use... this means under no circumstances can they be used off label. Many equine drugs are not allowed for use in food producing animals, things like ponazuril and DMSO. Enrofloxacin is not allowed for use in sheep/goats. If it is not on the label, ask your veterinarian before administering it.
Last but definitely not least... THANK YOU PRODUCERS!!!! Thank you for making sure you livestock were comfortable and fed during the long winter, thank you for braving the blizzards to check on your livestock. Thank you for putting in the long hours during calving, lambing/ kidding, farrowing. Thank you for getting up every morning and doing it all over again... even when it's been a rough turn. Let us know how we can help!