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Top Benefits and Uses of Antibiotics in Livestock

Top Benefits and Uses of Antibiotics in Livestock

Antibiotics are any of a large group of chemical substances, such as penicillin or streptomycin, produced by various microorganisms and fungi, having the capacity in dilute solutions to inhibit the growth of or to destroy bacteria and other microorganisms, used chiefly in the treatment of infectious diseases among livestock.

Antibiotics have been around for a very long time and have helped prevent and control a lot of diseases in humans and farm animals alike. The usage of antibiotics in farm animals is quite heavy and widespread, and has been a typical practice of farmers in North America and Europe for quite some time. For example, in the U.S alone, more than eight billion chickens are processed each year and most beef, pork, poultry consumed by humans contains small amounts of antibiotics

There are four broad categories of animal antibiotics use:

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1. Treatment of disease

Antibiotics are given to treat an animal with a diagnosed illness. As part of the effort to produce poultry meat and eggs as economically as possible, it is common practice to maintain broilers, turkeys, and laying hens in large flocks in one location. From 10,000 to 20,000 broilers are typically raised in one house, and some operations have as many as a million laying hens in one location. With such a concentration of birds it is essential to have disease control programs that will prevent disastrous losses to the poultry industry. Drugs, including antibiotics, have played a major role in maintaining the health of poultry flocks since the 1950’s.

Because all uses of antimicrobial drugs, in both humans and animals, contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance, it is important to use these drugs only when medically necessary.

2. Containment of disease outbreak

Antibiotics can be given to control the spread of an illness on a farm or ranch in the face of an outbreak. Livestock and poultry farmers aim to raise all animals in conditions that promote their health, from fresh water and nutritious feed to clean living conditions. While some products, like organic products and those that make a ‘no antibiotics’ claim, may create the impression that animal antibiotics were not needed, the fact is, animals in all production systems become sick at some time, just like all people do.

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3. Prevention of disease transmission

Because livestock and poultry share water and feed troughs and seek close contact with one another by licking, laying on each other and even rubbing snouts and noses, illnesses can spread rapidly. Sometimes, veterinarians recommend using antibiotics to prevent diseases at times when livestock are particularly at risk, like during weaning from the mother. Swift, preventive actions often mean a livestock will receive fewer antibiotics than they would have if they had not received a preventive dose.

4. Promotion of growth

Livestock producers routinely give antibiotics to animals to make them grow faster or help them survive crowded, stressful, and unsanitary conditions.

The use of some antibiotics can destroy certain bacteria in the gut and help livestock and poultry convert feed to muscle more quickly causing more rapid growth.

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Antibiotics are added to the animal feed or drinking water of cattle, hogs, poultry and other food-producing animals to help them gain weight faster or use less food to gain weight.

Like people, animals become ill and can develop conditions similar to common human infections like pneumonia, skin infections and others. Most pet owners have experienced the need to give their cats and dogs antibiotics to treat infections. Livestock and poultry are no different. Not providing animal antibiotics when needed would harm a sick animal’s well-being and could cause a more widespread infection in other animals in a home, herd or flock.

Conclusion

The management procedures used in today’s poultry production have made it possible to provide poultry meat and eggs for consumers very economically. In fact, until very recently the prices of broilers and eggs were similar to those 25 years ago despite a decrease in the value of the dollar through inflation. It is unlikely that future changes in management will result in any reduction in the concentration of poultry. Changes will probably involve upgrading of physical facilities for maintaining the birds, including environmentally controlled housing and the adoption of more automated equipment in the feeding and management of the birds.

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Featured photo credit: Ranva via pixabay.com

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Deborah Belford

Freelance journalist

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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