Antibiotic Free: Why it Should Matter to you
In the midst of all the twitter uproar about Premier Brad Wall and A&W, I want to look at one of the protocols that A&W is promoting. A&W makes the claim that the beef they use is antibiotic free. And the response from the industry? ‘All beef in Canada is antibiotic free’.
In terms of scientific analysis of the beef cuts on the shelves, the answer to that questions is maybe or maybe not. The withdrawl period for antibiotics doesn’t mean that there is NO antibiotic residue in the meat. It means that the residue is within the safety limits that the government sets for human consumption.
And don’t forget that the beef industry uses a lot less antibiotics in the production of your burger than the chicken and pork industry.
The statement that all beef in Canada is antibiotic free also doesn’t give a complete picture. It is like saying I am drug free 20 minutes after all the cocaine has left my system.
Every dose of antibiotics kills about 50% of all the bacteria in your gut biome, and I am making an assumption that it affects animals in the same way. Please remember that the bacteria in your gut affect almost everything – from digestion to behavior. The antibiotics change both the animal and their gut bacteria in ways that science is only now starting to understand. And the systematic use of antibiotics in different animal production systems not only changes the animals, but also the bacteria that are being suppressed.
Why does this matter and why it should concern you?
Take a minute and watch this video and find out.
Every time an antibiotic is used, the bacteria that survive are better able to resist the antibiotic next time. In farm production systems, evolution makes the bacteria stronger and better able to resist the antibiotics. In the confinement pork and chicken industry, animals are sometimes exposed to antibiotics their entire life, excluding the withdrawl period at the end of their lives.
Ever hear of someone for whom antibiotics didn’t help fight infection? We have family that has died in hospital after fighting an antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria.
On our farm ‘Antibiotic free’ means so much more than no chemical trace of antibiotics in the food we grow.
Our farm is a whole system. Everything we do on our farm is designed and planned to have healthy cattle and animals. We keep stress down to a minimum for the cattle, and we want to keep our farm as close to nature as possible.
We try to minimize the opportunities for disease. We feed only the best food we can grow to our animals. We mimic nature as much as possible on our farm to build up all the natural systems that exist, including animal immunity and health.
It is our hope that by keeping our production practices as close to nature as possible, we can reduce and almost eliminate the need for antibiotics on our farm.
That is what I mean when I say our farm is antibiotic free.
When an animal is sick and requires antibiotics, we treat the animal. It would be inhumane not to treat it. But everything we try to do on the farm leads us away from disease in our animals and leads us towards good health.
To my customers, please know that any animals we treat are out of our organic program and are marketed in other ways.
Our organic beef has not received antibiotics of any kind.