By Katie Sawyer on October 23, 2015

Treating sickness is the humane thing to do

Why ranchers treat with antibiotics

healthy cattle

The debate around antibiotic use in farm animals and livestock has again reared its ugly head. People who have never raised poultry, cattle or pigs are demanding farmers and ranchers give up the use of antibiotics, all the while insisting on humane treatment for all living things.

On our farm, treating sick animals is the most humane thing we can do. Ending our ability to use antibiotics is essentially forcing us to walk away from animals that would have otherwise made a full recovery.

It is our belief that with the responsibility of raising animals comes the duty to protect and care for them in times of sickness and injury. We take many steps to prevent illness in our herd but given the always-changing Kansas weather, illness spread by flies and stress that comes from weaning or moving from the farm to the pasture, we know that a few of our animals will become ill. Most will suffer from pneumonia or a blood disease, both of which are easily curable with antibiotics.

We treat about 20 percent of our herd each year for some type of illness, mostly the two conditions mentioned above. Of those, at least 75 percent, or more, would die if we did not step in and administer a dose of antibiotics.

That is unacceptable on our farm and an inhumane way to treat our animals.

People who advocate against the use of antibiotics don’t have the animal in mind, because when ranchers lose their ability to help their animals, it’s the animals that suffer in the end.

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  • Katie Sawyer

    Katie Sawyer

    Katie and her husband Derek are the fourth generation to own and operate the family farm in McPherson County, Kan. The couple has grown the farm to include additional acres and cattle facilities and pasture ground. Katie works full-time off the farm but provides support when she can in the form of food and advocacy.... Read more