by Ken Root
As of January 1 the USDA and FDA have imposed the Veterinary Feed Directive. It has been coming for years, and like the glacier of regulation was unstoppable.
Now that it is here, a Veterinarian from Kansas State University is issuing a caution that growers cannot disregard the impact of failing to follow the new guidelines.
He suggests the new relationship between Grower, Veterinarian and Feed Supplier will be closely watched by government, by activists and the medical community to see if antibiotic use in animals is done under the supervision of a health professional or if growers continue their traditional ways.
Antibiotics are viewed as vital medicine in the production of livestock. There are groups who argue their use has made human pathogens resistant to the drugs, and therefore damaging to our health.
Ron Hays, a colleague from the Rural Oklahoma Network, spoke to Dr. Mike Aply, a veterinarian and professor at Kansas State University about the importance of adhering to the new Veterinary Feed Directive.
“We cannot afford as an agricultural industry to be perceived as blowing off regulations,” Apley said. “Because if it is perceived that we cannot be trusted to adhere to regulations, then right or wrong, there’s only the nuclear option left, and that is – you don’t have (antibiotics) anymore.”
Dr. Apley insists that we as an industry will get through this year and come out the other side adapted to the requirements of the new regulation. He assures that in time, navigating the waters of VFD will be routine practice. Nonetheless, he maintains that conversation between producers, their veterinarians and their feed distributor has never been more important than right now.
“There has to be that communication between the three, so that we can do this right. And you know what,” Apley contests, “we all might learn a few things in the process.