East Texas ranchers question FDA antibiotic regulation
GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - An FDA regulation, set to go into effect in June, is not a welcome change for some East Texas ranchers. Many ranchers are accustomed to giving antibiotics to their livestock using over-the-counter items, but that is coming to an end.
As part of the Food and Drug Administration’s five-year plan to support veterinary antimicrobial stewardship, sales of livestock antibiotics with be regulated by prescription only.
“It’s a big problem for anyone that’s trying to do this. They’re still encroaching on us, and I’m not happy about that, but I don’t know what I can do about it,” said Wood County livestock owner Dwight Holcum.
The new regulation caught Gregg County rancher Buck Birdsong unaware.
“I was not aware. When you have an animal that needs that, it’s hard to run to the vet and get a prescription. It’s always been a practice; most people keep it in stock in the refrigerator,” he said.
A lot of ranchers use something like a simple tube of livestock penicillin, which you can get over the counter at most feed and seeds. But by June, you’ll have to have a prescription for it.
The FDA’s reasoning is that there is antibiotic resistance in humans due to overuse of antibiotics, and they hope this regulation will keep the same thing from happening to the food supply, but some are not buying it.
“I see the reasoning why, but it sure has been kept quiet hasn’t it?” said Birdsong.
Ranchers have concerns with the change, particularly the time factor when they have a sick animal.
“The longer you wait about taking care of it, the less the chance they can recover,” Holcum said.
With no recourse, they’ll simply stock up where they can.
“I’ll probably try to get a bottle before the ban starts,” said Birdsong.
According to the FDA, when microorganisms become increasingly resistant to anti-microbial drugs, the drugs become less effective. This makes it more difficult to treat infections in people and animals.
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