June 01, 2018


 AABP: Determine drug use by disease, not marketing

Posted May 9, 2018

American Assocation of Bovine Practitioners logo

Cattle should receive antibiotics when needed to treat disease even if the animals are in antibiotic-free production, according to the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.

Companies selling beef or dairy products from antibiotic-free herds need backup plans for selling products of the cattle that need treatment, AABP leaders said in a position statement published in March on raised-without-antibiotics programs. The document is available in PDF format at https://jav.ma/AABPrwa.

"Regardless of the intended marketing channel, the first priority must always lie with the welfare and health of the cattle in our care," the document states. "Programs that seek to market cattle as 'raised-without-antibiotics' (RWA) must not compromise cattle health and well-being in order to maintain animals in an RWA status."

In an announcement about the publication, AABP president Dr. Mike Apley said animal welfare is a primary obligation for veterinarians.

"We are not making any kind of statement as to the acceptability of these programs, but rather how veterinarians can best work with producers in RWA programs to ensure animal welfare is at the forefront," he said.

The position statement lists three tenets: Farms need strategies within a veterinarian-client-patient relationship to administer antibiotics when needed, raised-without-antibiotics programs should recognize cattle develop injuries and diseases requiring antibiotic treatment, and RWA programs should include alternative marketing plans for treated animals.