It’s Here: The Veterinary Feed Directive
Beginning January 1st, a new law called the Veterinary Feed Directive became effective, and while many poultry and livestock owners may be heaving heavy sighs at the thought of one more hoop to jump through with regard to their operations, there are some factors here that surround a bigger picture. According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, excessive use of these antibiotics is increasing the threat of drug resistance in animals, thus making it easier for them to become ill. If they’re sick, their diseases can be passed on to humans in many ways such as from the animal’s skin surface, their feces, or when we eat their under cooked meat. This “antibiotic resistance” results from mutations or acquisition of new genes in bacteria that reduce or eliminate the effectiveness of antibiotics.
The National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria has this vision:
The United States will work domestically and internationally to prevent, detect, and control illness and death related to infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria by implementing measures to mitigate the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistance and ensuring the continued availability of therapeutics for the treatment of bacterial infections.
And so came the Veterinary Feed Directive as an integral piece to this plan. Here are some points to think about that I gleaned from what I read:
The Veterinary Feed Directive:
- Will end over-the-counter sales of medically important antimicrobial drugs.
- Is meant to stop the use of medically important antibiotics for performance, growth and weight gain in food-producing animals and poultry.
- Restricts antibiotic use, allowing it only for preventing and treating disease.
- Requires a prescription from a veterinarian who has established a vet-client-patient relationship with the livestock/poultry owner.
- Does not make any distinction between backyard animals/chickens or those considered pets. The same rules apply to both.
Below is an Overview that helps explain the Directive:
So the bigger picture involves livestock, poultry and humans, and the need to preserve antibiotic effectiveness through controlled use makes a whole lot of sense. Some also say that taking these measures could very well maintain confidence in the people who buy this food. It can only be a good thing if the consumer considers these products safe and reliable. What do you think of the new VFD? Weigh in with your comments below.
Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store