Are farm animals routinely getting antibiotics?

It seemed such a simple question

Yesterday brought a tweet with an interesting angle on a scientific development. Accompanied by a herd of stockphoto cows, John Blue of Truffle Media tweeted

"CRISPR-Cas9 used to create genetically Tuberculosis-resistant cows could be 1st #antibiotic free livestock"

Killjoy that I am, I replied:

"I reckon they'll still get antibiotics to promote growth."

John Blue reminded me that US FDA regulations now say that

"Antibiotics cannot be used for production, e.g., growth promotion, purposes"

I first asked

"Is the use of antibiotics for production now zero?"

And then, after getting a link as a reply, asked again, quoting the bit of the article he linked to, which said that ""the use of antibiotics for growth promotion be halted by 2016"

John's answer

"If you want to interview someone about #antibiotics in #ag let me know"

Nothing if not a pain in the arse, I asked again

"So, routine use in production is now zero?"

John replied

"Sick animals can still receive proper veterinary care via judicious use of #antibiotics"

Which is nice, and all, but. Today brought another reply to the same question.

"@EatPodcast to help, can you clear up what you mean by "routine use" & #antibiotics? If you'd like, I'll connect you w/ a veterinary expert"

At which point I think I'll just shut up. And it seemed such a simple question.

Some recent news reports:

Care to hazard a guess how that superbug arose?

Geeky Food

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