Do Cattlemen Have a Magic Needle?

Veterinarian in beef barn with laptop computer.


Perception is a problem when it becomes someone’s reality.  In this case, we’re talking about the public’s perception that beef producers and their veterinarians rely heavily on the use of antibiotics to keep their cattle healthy.  It’s a problem because consumers are worried about the safety and nutritional value of the meat they buy and often envision cattlemen spending their day injecting all their cattle with “something that must be bad!”


We would like to help you understand some principles about the use of preventive and therapeutic antibiotics in beef production.   Here is some “food for thought”:


  • Antibiotics are expensive.  That fact alone sets limits on irresponsible use.  Cattle production units are only sustainable if they are economically viable businesses.  Spending money on medicines that aren’t needed is not in their best interest.
  • USDA/FDA/EPA laws and regulations govern how and when veterinarians are allowed to legally prescribe antibiotic use.  Sophisticated computer programs are used to manage our drug regimens.
  • Veterinarians monitor drug success levels to insure they are high.
  • We use short acting drugs in cattle close to harvest and withdrawal periods are closely monitored.


The best medicines we have cannot overcome bad management!  There is no “magic needle”.

This means producers at all levels must first pay attention to genetics, nutrition, and management practices.  It saves money and allows antibiotic therapies to be used when they are really needed.  By not using antimicrobials for sick cattle, it speaks of animal abuse.  M­­edia attention given to antibiotic resistance development is often misguided and not scientifically sound information so producers and consumers alike must vet the sources of the news and studies they read.


If you have questions concerning antibiotic uses in beef production units, we’d love to hear from you.  Please share this website with your friends who have concerns about their food sources.  Sign up to receive the newsletter and receive a reusable grocery tote, our thank you to you for joining Beef Education Consultants, at  “Like” us on facebook  and “Share” with your friends. You’ll help us all to be BeefSmart!



Image credit: <a href=’’>goodluz / 123RF Stock Photo</a>