Kansas State University recently conducted a study concerning the economic impact of treating certain high-risk groups of animals with antimicrobials. There has been great debate on this topic in the general public.
The study was concentrated on treating high risk animals to eliminate or, at the very least, minimalize the onset of diseases. This practice is called Metaphylaxis. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) the practice is used on approximately 59 percent of feedlots in the United States. The number of cattle this practice is used on is only about 20 percent of the total cattle on feed. Kansas State Livestock Economist Ted Schroeder says, “There’s a general sentiment and public policy concern about the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture. Our study assessed the economic impacts on the beef cattle industry and consumers of using the practice in the beef cattle industry.”
The study found if the practice of Metaphylaxis were eliminated without an alternative treatment program, it could cost the cattle industry upwards of $1.8 billion dollars. Which means the cost would be passed on to American consumers.