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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 24, 2021

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

We’ve all done it. We’ve gone out and bought useless gadgets that we don’t really need, just because they seemed really cool at the time. Then, we are stuck with a bunch of junk, and end up tossing it or trying to sell it on Ebay.

On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome tech inventions that are actually useful. For instance, many of the latest home gadgets do some of your work for you, from adjusting the home thermostat to locking your front door. And, if used as designed, these tools should really help to make your life a lot easier—and that’s not just a claim from some infomercial trying to sell you yet another useless gadget.

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Take a look at some of the most popular “smart gadgets” on the market:

1. Smart Door Locks

A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your doors by using your smartphone, a special key fob, or biometrics. These locks are keyless, and much more difficult for intruders to break into, making your home a lot safer. You can even use a special app to let people into your home if you are not there to greet them.

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2. Smart Kitchen Tools

Wouldn’t you just love to have a pot of coffee waiting for you when you get home from work? What about a “smart pan” that tells you exactly when you need to flip that omelet? From meat thermometers to kitchen scales, you’ll find a variety of “smart” gadgets designed to make culinary geeks salivate.

3. Mini Home Speaker Play:1

If you love big sound, but hate how much space big speakers take up, and if you want a stereo system that is no bigger than your fist, check out the Play:1 mini speaker. All you have to do is plug it in, connect, and then you can stream without worrying about any interruptions or interface. You can even add onto it, and have different music playing in different rooms.

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4. Wi-Fi Security Cameras

These are the latest in home security, and they connect to the Wi-Fi in your home. You can use your mobile devices to monitor what is going on in your home at all times, no matter where you are. Options include motion sensors, two-way audio, and different recording options.

5. Nest Thermostat

This is a thermostat that lives with you. It can sense seasonal changes, temperature changes, etc., and it will adjust itself automatically. You will never have to fiddle with a thermostat dial or keypad again, because this one basically does all of the work for you. It can also help you to save as much as 12% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling bills.

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6. Smart Lighting

Control your home lighting from your remote device. This is great if you are out and want to make sure that there are some lights on. It is designed to be energy efficient, so it will pay for itself over time because you won’t have to spend so much on your monthly energy bills.

7. Google Chromecast Ultra

Whether you love movies, television shows, music, etc., you can stream it all using Google Chromecast Ultra. Stream all of the entertainment you love in up to 4K UHD and HDR, for just $69 monthly.

8. Canary

This home security system will automatically contact emergency services when they are needed. This system offers both video and audio surveillance, so there will be evidence if there are any break-ins on your property. You can also use it to check up on what’s happening at home when you are not there, including to make sure the kids are doing their homework.

Featured photo credit: Karolina via kaboompics.com

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