Antibiotics are used in livestock to prevent sickness and infection. In many cases this is a result of the conditions that the livestock are kept in. Large numbers of livestock kept in small areas creates large concentrations of waste, which can cause unhealthy conditions. By reducing the concentration of livestock and increasing the size of their ranges, antibiotics wouldn’t be needed. This will reduce their exposure to hazardous conditions reducing the need for antibiotics. One example is Horizon Organic, they have created a very successful business using no antibiotics on their livestock.
Another reason for the use of antibiotics is the use of corn in cattle feedlots. Cows are only able to process a certain amount of corn. After that point, the cow begins to build up acid in it’s stomachs. This leads to acidosis and potential ulcers and other infections. There are also a range of other potentially life threatening risks for cattle from the use of corn silage (fermented feed). Of course, as “portland 1983” mentioned the filthy feed lot operations only increase these risks. In contrast, cattle raised in a natural grazing environment rarely need antibiotics, unless their hoofs are not trimmed on a regular basis.
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