Subway Announces That a Bullet Is Their Treatment Of Choice For Sick Animals…

**AUTHORS NOTE: Due to the huge response to this blog post and my responsibilities on the farm, I am unable to respond to each comment made by readers.  I am reading the comments, and I plan to post a new blog responding to questions brought up in the comment section within the next few days.  Thank you for reading, and thank you for caring. It renews my faith in our country that 400,000 of you all care enough about your food to read a farmer’s thoughts.

Tuesday, Subway restaurants made the announcement that beginning in March 2016 it will serve chicken raised without antibiotics. Further, the company will source turkey, pork and beef in the same manner within a 10 year period. A spokesman for Subway stated that company’s goal is “eliminating antibiotics from all of its meat supplies within 10 years”.

There are two different things going on in the above statement that are being blended into a mass of dramatic confusion. I want to take a moment to clarify so that everyone can be educated food purchasers.

  1. Eliminating harmful levels of antibiotics from meat has already been accomplished.  It is illegal in the United States to market food animals that carry unsafe antibiotic residues. This is a non-negotiable fact of food production. The meat that you purchase from Subway today is safe. That is the law. Subway’s announcement makes no change to that fact.
  2. Sourcing meat from animals that have never been treated with an antibiotic affects how the farmer raises the animal. It does not change the meat, it changes the way that the animal is raised.

annecattlecab.jpgIn my mind, Subway’s announcement states that a bullet is their treatment of choice for sick food animals. They wish to only purchase meat that comes from animals that have never been treated with an antibiotic. Food animals (like cattle) are grown for the sole purchase of providing a high quality dietary protein. If Subway does not want the meat from an animal that required antibiotic treatment for illness at any time during its lifetime, then I have two choices: leave the sick animal to suffer until it likely dies, or shoot it with a bullet and end its life immediately.

Quite frankly, neither choice is acceptable to me. I hope that neither choice is acceptable to you.

As a cattle farmer, it is my job to raise my animals humanely in order to produce safe and healthy beef. It is unreasonable for my customers to demand the impossible. I cannot raise 100% of my animals over a lifespan of almost two years without ever using an antibiotic. Things happen – Animals can get sick.  It is my job to help them when they do.

I want healthy animals that make healthy beef because that creates responsible and sustainable food production. It is the right thing to do to treat a sick animal that needs special care. I should be able to expect my customers to understand that the meat product that comes from that small percentage of animals is still fit for human consumption.

Let’s do a little bit of cowboy math to look at the reality of Subway’s statement…

In the twelve month period of August 1, 2014 to July 31, 2015, I treated 7.8% of the cattle on my farm with an antibiotic for an individually diagnosed illness. These animals were treated under the direction of my veterinarian according to Beef Quality Assurance practices. Additionally, in compliance with federal law, those animals were held on the farm until the required withdrawal time passed to ensure that no antibiotics were present in their meat when they went to slaughter.

I marketed approximately 5500 animals during that 12 month period which means that somewhere in the neighborhood of 430 of those animals were treated on my farm for an individually diagnosed illness. Each of those animals produced approximately 820# of meat and other products. Either shooting these animals with a bullet at diagnosis or letting them suffer until they died would result in an estimated 352,600# of wasted product.

That scenario is both irresponsible and unacceptable. I am a dedicated animal caregiver, and I am proud of the beef that comes from my animals. It is safe – I feed it to my family. However, some of it comes from animals that required additional care in the form of an antibiotic to regain health at some point in their two year life time.


As a mother, a farmer, and an American: I recognize the importance of the antibiotic resistance issue. I have blogged about it many times. However, we need to respond intelligently in our quest for a remedy. There is nothing intelligent about a corporate statement that dictates wasting millions of pounds of food each year.

It saddens me that food production has slumped to this level, and I refuse to comply.

**Subway issued a revised statement this afternoon.  You can find this statement along with my responses to questions asked in the comment section of this blog post in a new post by clicking here.


Filed under Animal Welfare

277 responses to “Subway Announces That a Bullet Is Their Treatment Of Choice For Sick Animals…

  1. Deb

    Ann, it saddens me to accept the reality that today’s consumer is so uneducated about the protein that fills the meat case. The result is the consumer’s vulnerability to a corporate marketing message based on a lie or misinformation at best. It also saddens me to watch, mostly powerless, as our industry always responds from a defensive position. You and I know the advances our industry has made, using best practice management and science, to improve the health and welfare of beef, the safety of the product through improved delivery systems, and quality. For some reason, that message is not being heard by consumers that buy our product. Could it be that Subway needs an aggressive campaign to reshape their image and take the focus off the fact their corporate spokesman for more than a decade is now a convicted pedophile? Just sayin’.

    • Deb, those were my thoughts EXACTLY when I heard of this announcement. As someone who trained in PR and worked in the industry for a decade, I can see this being a strategy to combat their ailing reputation over the Jared scandal. Mush better to be trending because you jumped on the trendy “healthy food source” bandwagon (however misguided).

      Ann, this is one of the most well written, pragmatic and level-headed responses to this topic I’ve read to date. Kudos to you. It’s a tough fight, but I’m glad we’ve got folks in the industry that are willing and so eloquently able to fight the fight.

      • Lee

        It’s not the fear of antibiotics in the meat, it’s the effect on the trillions of bacteria in a farming operation and the effect on the enviornment in which the meat is handled or improperly cooked.

    • I think it’s exceptionally clear that the only thing Subway is interested in are financial gains. The sheer fact that no antibiotics are present in any of the meat legally sold in the U.S. shows that they simply want to capitalize on another “foodie” trend. It’s not only unethical, but perpetuates the misinformation and sheer blindness that the average American maintains today for their food and meat supply chains.

    • Jack Knight

      the problem lies with producers who are not doing an exemplary job… your concern should be with them, not consumers or marketers who demand a certain production practice

      • Matt

        So Jack or should I say Jack ass you are insinuating that some farmers are sending animals to Slaughter that have antibiotics still in there system. Not true if the farmer does that he is find heavily and after a couple violations could go to jail and will never able to send to be processed again. The usda tests every beef and dairy product multiple times to make sure it is safe for human consumption 100% antibiotic-free.. let me guess you’re an attorney

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  6. Amy

    This is a fantastic article and I couldn’t agree more. I’ve wanted to ask for a while now if we as humans should cut antibiotics out of our life in the same manner? I mean, if we cant eat meat from an animal that was treated with antibiotics months or even a year or more prior to slaughter it certainly isn’t something we should be using directly is it? 🙂 I know it’s different drugs and such, but it is still the same idea…just think about cutting antibiotics out of our lives, can you imagine what it would mean?? This marketing scheme that is being pushed is absolutely ridiculous and downright appalling…

  7. lindsaychichester

    Reblogged this on Agricultural with Dr Lindsay and commented:
    Once again another company has fallen victim to the “no antibiotics ever” marketing ploy. Just like you, me, our families, and our pets, food animals get sick. When they do, a diagnosis of illness is made and that animal receives quick medical attention, and probably an antibiotic. Cattle, poultry, pork (insert other animal protein sources here) farmers and ranchers closely follow antibiotic withdrawal dates, meaning there are NO antibiotics in your meat, milk, or eggs! Trust me, these products are regularly tested for residues. Once the animal has made a full recovery it’s protein is completely safe and wholesome to enter the food supply. Can you imagine a “no antibiotic ever” world where animal health declines and animals suffer (and die) from their illness because end markets like Subway won’t accept the meat if the animal has been treated for illness? As a 4th generation agriculturalist, I will not let any animal suffer or die under my watch just so a food company, such as Subway can make a few people who think this is a good idea happy.

    I am reblogging a post that Anne Burkholder just put out. Anne is a feedlot owner and cattle farmer, who raises and cares for a thousands of animals every year.

  8. Bobbi

    Ann – thank for your continued support and words. The part that angers me is they use a marketing plan that leads the consumer to believe that there is no system in place to prevent antibiotics from entering the meat case. Even as a rancher where our calves are 6-8 months away from slaughter when they leave our farm we follow the drug withdrawal dates. Same if we have to market a cow or bull. I sign a paper at the sale barn on all cull bulls stating that they have not been sold prior to meeting ALL drug withdrawal periods.
    The other issue I have with this is that on 1 side they are sending me the message they don’t want me to treat and heal a sick or injured cow/calf/bull. And then if I say do I let the critter die a slow miserable death from this CURABLE illness or just go out and shoot him they say that I must NOT let the animal suffer and shooting it is horrible! So what do I do?

  9. Steve

    “Animals can get sick. It is my job to help them when they do.” So the animals can get bigger and make you more money before you “humanely” shoot them in the head and kill them. Hypocrisy.

    • Darren Taber

      If you feel this way about animal agriculture, then you must feel the same way about the overuse and abuse of antibiotics in human medicine, i.e.went to the dentist to get a cleaning and was required to take 1 penicillin tablet! Feel free to remove yourself from the use of antibiotics, see how you fare! But you won’t, because you are a hypocrite!

    • Smiles

      They are not being hypocritical. They are simply saying these animals are being raised for meat, and there are 3 choices if they get sick:
      1. Treat with antibiotics, get healthy and go to slaughter (DIES) to produce meat.
      2. Don’t use antibiotics to treat the illness, the animal suffers and DIES.
      3. The animal is slaughtered (DIES) and not used for meat = 100% loss for the farmer.

      All 3 scenarios, the animal dies. This is a business, if farmers can’t protect their investment, they won’t be able to sustain their business. Think about it.

      • Jack Knight

        all current antibiotic free meat certification systems allow treated animals to be sold just not to their market

    • Agvocate

      If you feel this way I hope you don’t rely on meat to feed your body. Please educate yourself fully before bashing the men and women who work year round in some of the most extreme conditions to feed you and all of the people you love and know. The process of raising a food animal has been deemed humane in all aspects of government. If you rely on PETA or animal advocacy groups alike for information you may need to consider broadening your mind and finding the accurate details needed to educate your OWN opinion.

      • I love Cows

        Also cattle are used for way more than meat. I need to find the brochure that shows what all the parts and pieces are used for. Any Cattlemans/Cattlewomens organization can provide one. Insulin is one that pops into my head. There are a multitude of products that come out of beef. I have to agree that if antibiotics stay in an animal for ever, then why do we, as humans, have to take antibiotics more than once over our life time. We’ve all had to have had them at one time or another. Hmmm. Makes ya think doesn’t it.

    • JenniferT

      Actually, beef cattle are an economic loss until you ‘shoot them in the head’ (which is NOT how it is done, incidentally). Therefore, the farmer is not gaining anything significant by treating them, except to make their animal’s lives more comfortable than they’d have been without treatment. Ignorance at its finest.

    • Steve obviously you have a problem with the consumption of meat entirely wether is is treated with anti-biotics or not. I would assume you are a vegetarian and believe all people should be. Therefore this is not a conversation you should even be a part of.

  10. James

    What a miss leading and horribly written article. This is more of an op-ed piece than a legitimate news article. You use your opinion to put words into their mouths. Objectivity should be your goal on banging on the drama drum

    • Kelly

      It is a blog not a new site. She did a great job of explaining with facts not opinions the current situation. As a cattle farmer herself she obviously has first-hand knowledge and experience.

    • Huh? First this is a Blog and it is the proper place for her educated opinion.
      I am an urban consumer, that lives walking distance from 2 Subways. I liked Subway. but not any more. I will not condone animal abuse in the name of marketing. That is her point here.

      If your pet needs an antibiotic, do you use a poultice or some herb instead of the the antibiotic? Why should a farm animal have to endure Dark Ages medical care? This is not about the health of animals or of people, it is about Marketing only. And marketing to frighten, willful ignorant population, driven to that view by Facebook memes with no grounding in facts. Many of these memes end up going back to woo peddlers and to those that want to end conventional agriculture. Some are the radical animal activists that claim that they want to ‘protect’ animals, but in reality, they don’t (think PETA and their slaughterhouse ‘shelter’.

    • KCooper

      James, possibly you don’t agree with the article, and therefore feel compelled to malign it. The author very carefully states the law regarding antibiotics and meat. That is NOT opinion, it’s fact. Go take a ani sci 101 course, and learn about it. Thank you.

  11. Doc B (J B Boren)

    When a society refuses to moralize about sex, it doesn’t quit moralizing, but rather moralizes about food.

    That’s why it is possible for a Jr. High girl to get an IUD during her lunch period at school, but she can’t get a soda from a vending machine.

    I’ll be sharing your very informative article.

  12. Jill

    THANK YOU! As a fourth generation cattle producer, I couldn’t agree more! The misinformation and general disconnect from the agriculture industry in today’s society is stunning. Sharing!!!

  13. Debbie Davis

    Unfortunately, some people allow their words to go before their brains work. It is well known that meat has inspections and if the animals are treated, they have many days to be antibiotic free before slaughter. So, the meat IS antibiotic free. But we in America use social media to make a cause which has no truth.

    • Smiles

      I agree. Same crap in Canada. A&W here, buy their beef from Austraila claiming that the meat is antibotics and hormone free. Funny thing is, some of the animals have been treated/given hormone & Antibotics but is has cleared their system prior to slaughter, so A&W is free to advertise that they are hormone & Antibotic free.

      Dumb advertising campaign. Do they really think that the vast majority gives a crap about hormones and antibotics if they’re willing to consume the stuff served at fast food restaurant in the first place?


        I just had a handyman at the house that brought this subject up. He indicated (with an eyeroll) that producers were “supposed” to follow withdrawal periods and who really did.. I told him our story of how we have to, how they are tested at slaughter, and what the repercussions would be if we got caught selling an animal that had drug residues. This man was shocked that it was actually monitored and asked a great deal of questions. This is a man from rural Nebraska. He even said, I should know this stuff, I can only imagine what the urban population thinks.

      • Smiles, Canadian here. A&W drives me nuts with their advertising campaign against anti-biotics and how they don’t support Canadian farmers. It’s so unfortunate that their teen burger and onion rings are sooooo good. I hate them and I just can’t quit them

  14. shaecim

    good article that focuses on an important point but why didnt you mention sub therapeutic antibiotic use? that’s the root of the problem with overuse of antibiotics in livestock and the creation of resistant bacteria and its where the idea of antibiotic free meat came from, if i’m not mistaken.

    • She did address that. I would like to know where all these ‘resistant bacteria’ are. The reports I see are from Urban areas, not from the farming and ranching areas. I have to wonder why, if it is caused by the overuse of antibiotics in animals, that it shows up in urban areas.

    • Angela

      Good thing to bring up. If you read between the lines, she did bring it up (easy to miss though). When she addressed the manner in which her cattle were diagnosed and administered the drug, what she was saying was that they were diagnosed as sick by a veterinarian then given an antibiotic. She was specifically stating they where not being treated before being sick.

      Many in the ag world have already moved or are in the process of moving to this system of doing things because it makes sense when battling antibiotic resistance. Caution is being thrown on some regulation coming through on the subject though because it can get too extreme and make it difficult to treat an actually sick animal. Situations like this cause panic and confusion in the public which encourages much too strict regulation so it’s currently more difficult than it needs to be to have a solution everyone can agree to. Gotta love marketing/politics 😛

  15. SR

    Your sensational click-bait headline is misleading, to say the least. Organic producers can still treat their sick animals with antibiotics—they simply can’t sell the meat as organic and must instead sell it in the non-organic market, just like you do. Federal regulations state that organic producers may not withhold medical treatment to preserve organic status.


      Right, but where would the market be for animals treated with antibiotics if we continue down this path?

    • Angela

      They weren’t talking about organic though, this is encompassing of all animal ag systems.

      • SR

        Who do you think will be Subway’s suppliers going forward if not those who are certified organic/antibiotic-free? The point is that saying you only have two options if you want to sell to Subway and an animal gets sick—shoot it or let it suffer—is a false dilemma. Logical fallacies diminish credibility and make people less likely to listen to producers’ legitimate concerns about Subway’s stance.

  16. I get the whole point of your story, but the title is misleading and, well, an outright lie. You seem to be more intelligent than a person who would lie to sell your story.

    • A good writer has to be just as adept at grabbing attention as being informative. You can have all the good information you want but if no one is paying attention then you aren’t doing any good. This is especially important in todays world where people have the attention span of a goldfish

  17. Scott

    Great article Ann! It is amazing the marketing decisions that some of these cooperate food companies make. It also amazes me that they are basically implying that the meat we purchase today is tainted with antibiotics! Obviously this is false. Keep up the good work!

  18. Lee

    I agree, this would be like saying you can never give your kids antibiotics in that it makes no sense

  19. Jon Strandberg

    I am a dairy farmer in Central Minnesota and I also raise beef cattle as well. We use antibiotics to treat sick cattle to. We believe in humane raising which means treating sick cattle. I agree that it is a dirty shame how Americans are getting to fussy for their food making it harder for us to DO OUR JOB. And to get antibiotic free poultry won’t ever happen the live on antibiotics from day 1

  20. Walt

    Subway doesn’t say you have to shoot them in the head or let them suffer. What they are just saying is that they won’t be buying an animal that has been treated with antibiotics. Are they willing to pay a premium for the untreated animals? Can you market your treated animals elsewhere?

    • NE cows

      The other question to ask is, Are we willing to pay more for food that isn’t treated with antibiotics? I heard a commentator speak that thought the demise of Mcdonalds in fact due to following what people say they want in food trends but not actually being able to afford it. They are to distinct questions that need asked, but all to often linked to only the altruistic viewpoint

      • Jennifer

        This is a question I have been asking. Setting the whole humane thing aside for a moment, has the consumer demanding antibiotic free meat taken into consideration how much this would elevate the price of meat? One would be quite surprised to see the jump in price of their roast beef sandwich. (We all know the businesses are going to pass those higher prices on to the customers.)

    • Angela

      The problem is that this is becoming a trend and for no reason. More and more food chains are moving to this thinking which will lead to no where to market your perfectly safe and properly cared for animals. Ergo, Subway is saying that yes, they’re on the side that would rather an animal die and go waste than treat it when it’s sick.

      It would be different if they were saying they didn’t want animals treated with antibiotics before they became sick, but saying never ever treated implies they would rather see the animals who get sick just die right out there in the field.

      NE cows also brought up the excellent point of; no, people do not want to pay more for their food even though they claim it’s what they want. It’s kinda like the people who demand better roads but always vote against a tax hike for road maintenance.


    Calling this article a lie is wrong, and I only hope you call other sources of media a lie as easily as you did this. We should not all be forced on an organic, high priced, lifestyle. These animals would not qualify for organic labeling, even without the presence of antibiotics, as they are not fed organic grains. Where is the place to market them in the scenario she gives, if we continue down this outrageous path? The media and animal rights groups are using scare tactics filled with misleading information and half facts to direct our food policy. Most consumers are too busy to sift through the information presented to get the facts. We need producers like this to share the story! Thanks Food yard foodie!!!

  22. Lol. Mad at subways marketing because its ‘misleading’ but uses a clickbait title to market her own blog. WUT.

    • Her title may be an exaggeration to grab attention but subway’s marketing is down right misinformation. There are no anti-biotics in meat that reaches market. There is absolutely no danger in treating animals with anti-biotics. It simply makes for healthier and happier animals. In today’s world of people who have the attention spans of gold fish (and care about real issues just as much) a writer has to be equally adept at grabbing attention as they are at giving good information. You can have all the great information you want but if no one is paying attention you aren’t doing any good. Not to mention that subway’s misinformation is extremely harmful to the beef industry while this writers attention grabbing headline simply drew you in so you could get the real facts

  23. Travis

    To be clear, I fully support the use of antibiotics in meat production. And, I wholeheartedly disagree with Subway’s decision.

    But, with all due respect, you are feeding the trolls by using a false dilemma fallacy. If you get a sick animal, you know you don’t have to shoot it. You have to treat the animal. You just can’t sell it to Subway. But, there are plenty of other markets.

    Yes, I understand that you are saying “What if all customers go this route?” But, then, you are using the slippery slope fallacy.

    My point is simply this, you have to be better than them. Don’t stoop to their low-brow tactics.

  24. I’m a believe we can humanely raise animals for food and think that you show how it can be done intelligently, safely, and as part of a wholesome family lifestyle. Your farm seems to be exemplary. That being said, there are powerful global forces in poultry, pork and beef industries that have absolutely poisoned the well of public opinion by using steroids and antibiotics routinely on healthy animals solely to accelerate weight gain. I understand that there no antibiotics in the meat we eat just like I understand a steak is gluten free — sure it’s true, but not relevant.

    I think Deb has it right that Subway is in a particularly vulnerable position because of some poor choices and bad luck, so they’re over correcting. But globally and in the US routine agricultural abuse of antibiotics is a continuing problem, not is giving a sick cow a short term dose of antibiotics, but when very low concentrations of antibiotics are mixed with feed and water, and the practice serves as a substitution for good hygiene and herd health. That’s a huge and important problem, and it’s not about having antibiotics in the meat.
    I understand how this kind of announcement must be aggravating for a rancher like you who is using antibiotics appropriately, but your meat still could get lumped in with the bad industrial practices. But I think you make a stronger case for your practices if you stay positive and don’t get dragged into the muck by poorly written PR from panicky fast food chains.

    • Angela

      Well, a large part of that is the consolidation of many parts of the ag industry leading to extremely large farms where it was inevitable the animals would get sick no matter how clean things were because of the sheer quantity of animals in one place. Kinda like taking your kid to daycare for the first time. However, the antibiotic resistance is a real problem and does need to be dealt with. This means that while proactively treating may have been smart and economical in the past, it’s not wise to keep moving with it.

      Looking forward: This means that we’re going to have more animals getting sick (still, the daycare principal) so any regulation that comes through (inevitably pushed by a public buying into marketing campaigns like Subway’s into believing all antibiotic treatments are bad) needs to leave room for an efficient way to document that your animals were sick and treated properly so you don’t have to get caught up in so much process and paperwork that your animals stay sick for a couple days after you first notice, THAT is the issue now everyone is trying to reach a compromise on.

      • Rex Peterson

        Anne is really good at spotting sick cattle. Treating less than 10% rivals any pasture operation. I know several cow calf operations that have treated 80% of the calves on their mothers in pasture in the middle of summer. We had the sad experience of treating 50% of a group of steers on summer pasture last year for pink eye.
        You might dislike the thought of feedlots, but the no antibiotics statements are far more sweeping than that.
        We can test for the presence of antibiotics, Last year the number of cattle that were slaughtered with residues was measured in cows per million. It it is difficult to test for never ever, and such standards may lead to widespread fraud or lack of confidence in beef or any other food product.
        Do you have suggestions for how to help you to know the truth rather than the talking points in your opinion?

  25. j. doe

    I’ve been closely to connected to a 50,000 head yard on down to smaller mom and pop type yards. They follow guidelines and use antibiotics “ethically” as well. Hygiene and cattle handling are stressed everywhere. It’s the standard not the exception.

  26. Crystal Burrows

    The statement that they will use a bullet rather than antibiotics is quite frankly stupid! They will cull that herd just like any other. They just will not have to wait on with drawl dates. Another thing, are your cattle not killed in the end as well? Irresponsible and juvenile writing at best!

    • What do you mean that they will cull the herd and not have to wait on withdrawal dates?

      • Jennifer

        I am confused by Crystal’s comments as well. Cull a herd? Not wait on withdrawal dates? Where do you not have to wait on withdrawal dates?
        I have to give credit to you. You have been calm and quite patient explaining, re-explaining, and re-explaining again how this could have a serious affect on our meat supply, yet some people still just do not get it. I would like to see what they think when you add up how much money you would lose if you had to rid your herd of the 7% (?) of treated animals. That money would have to be added to the price of your 93% you sold, so you would not lose money on these animals (as you would have nowhere else to sell them). I bet people the price of a Subway sandwich would be more than most of them would be willing to pay. I was so glad to see Subway decided to research this topic and changed their wording after all of the backlash they received from the ag. community. Best of luck to you. (Now if someone could get A&W to do some research as well…)

  27. K

    This can happen a number of ways. The most likely are that Subway will either run out of suppliers (because it’s unreasonable to expect farmers and ranchers to not treat their animals when they become sick) or they’ll simply lie to their consumers.

    I would like to see suppliers tell Subway what to do with their new policy and stop selling to them.

    • In Canada here A&W does not use beef that has had anti-biotics. What this means is that they have to source almost all their beef from outside the country (not supporting us canadian ranchers, outrageous). I think most of their beef comes from Australia

  28. Craig

    Unfortunately the author of this article is putting words into Subways “mouth” so-to-speak. “In my mind” would reflect your opinion not Subways. It would seem quite obvious that Subway chooses to use animals that have never been treated with antibiotics which means that the ones that have been treated simply go to the market that is ok with that, not that that all animals are killed or left to die if they need antibiotics.
    What is the point of this article?

    • The point of this article is to educate the ignorant masses that there is absolutely nothing wrong with meat that comes from animals that have been treated with anti-biotics. And the point of doing that is so that we don’t run down this slippery slope until there is no market left for animals that have been treated

  29. Kelly Johnston

    So much for beef farmers being inhumane in their treatment of their livestock. We value our animals and do everything we can to honor their contribution to the food chain. We owe it to these wonderful animals to keep them healthy and content.

  30. Torkjell

    It is a god ting to reduse antibioticks in lifestock to avoid: Antibiotic resistance that occurs when an antibiotic has lost its ability to effectively control or kill bacterial growth; in other words, the bacteria are “resistant” and continue to multiply in the presence of therapeutic levels of an antibiotic.

    • JenniferT

      That only occurs in animals that are given antibiotics as a prophylactic measure, in other words, supplied to animals not symptomatic of, or diagnosed with, microbial infections, which is illegal in the US, and has been for a long time. Careful medically necessary use of antibiotics is NOT a catalyst to resistant microbe strains. It is humane, responsible animal husbandry to treat sick animals with the appropriate medications, and in cases of microbial infection, that means antibiotics.

      • Concerned

        I would think that any use of antibiotics would bring up the possibility of selecting for antibiotic resistant microbes. It seems like the exact same thing that happens in human hospitals could also happen on a farm that is following veterinary recommendations for treating sick animals. While the prophylactic use of antibiotics has been the major cause of antibiotic resistance, medical uses could still contribute. If the dire predictions of a world where antibiotics fail are legitimate, and animal use of antibiotics (even for sick animals) is contributing to the problem, then as long as you value human lives more than animals lives there seems to be a strong moral case for refusing antibiotics to all animals.

      • There is little overlap in anti-biotics used in animal agriculture and human medicine. The most common antibiotics used in people are in the penicillins family, while ionophores are the most commonly used antibiotics in animals. In fact, ionophores are not used at all in people. In most cases, commonly used antibiotics in people are not commonly used in animals and vice versa. So correct me if I am wrong but I would assume that even if the over use of animal anti-biotics did create anti-biotic resistant microbes then those microbes would be resistant to ionophores not penicillins

  31. Liz

    Sadly, not everyone has a DVM.. And unfortunately most people who think they are educated are in fact very misinformed.

    As a Veterinary student myself I understand the importance of antibiotic use and withdrawal times. I also have respect for what our farmers do on a daily bases. I have yet to meet a farmer who doesn’t love their animals..

    This is a great blog post, thank you and please continue to care❤️

  32. Carey

    Most of the meat now used at Subway has been preserved using salt and chemical treatments. You can get the same thing at a supermarket deli counter. We would not allow our families, including our pets, to suffer an illness without medications, so why would we allow any animal to do so? And does this mean that *gasp* all the chicken I’ve eaten at Subway up until now has been tainted? I guess I’m doomed! Give your head a shake people, this is scare tactics at its worst.

  33. Rebecca S Potter

    VERY well written Article!
    Thank you
    Keep doing what you are raising healthy, sustainable, antibiotic free protien!

  34. Charles Flanagan

    Thank you for trying to educate the consumer. They may not change, but if we don’t speak up, they will not change. I think many consumers want to make good decisions, but find little information that supports modern agricultural methods. We, as farmers need to fill that vacuum with factual information. Keep up the good work!

  35. Greg

    You don’t have to shoot sick calves. They are just moved to a different pen or identified as having received medicines. They can go to a place that does not market their food as never been given mess.

    • Yes but the point of the article is to educated the ignorant masses that there is absolutely nothing wrong with meat treated with anti-biotics (done so under current standards anyways) so that we do not run down this slippery slope until there is no market left for those animals treated with anti-biotics (in which case they will just be shot)

  36. JenniferT

    I love the clear, educated way the facts are presented here. So many people are totally ignorant of how food gets to their table. I will be bookmarking this and sharing profusely.

  37. I appreciate all of the comments and the reads. I was busy on the farm all morning and am speaking at a Rural Leadership Conference put on by UNL this afternoon. Tomorrow is busy as well with chores at the feed yard, and my daughter’s state Cross Country competition. I promise that I will read all of your responses over the weekend and try to put together an additional post to answer the questions brought up.

    Thank you for having an opinion. Please know that I do not expect for everyone’s opinion to be the same. I do, however, ask that everyone remain respectful toward one another as we continue the discussion.


  38. Nancy

    I’m more upset about the Styrofoam that all of this good healthy food is packaged in. Seems very ironic to me.

  39. Patty Arand

    I don’t think at any point Subway recommends these animals be shot in the head for being treated by antibiotics. Of all of the animals in your example Subway is saying I cannot put the 430 animals you treated with anitbiotics in my supply chain. They are not advocating that you cannot sell them to other suppliers who understand that you as a producer are being responsible for your herd or that you shoot them in the head. They are simply saying if i do this I will have all the other bloggers who do not agree with this slandering my independently owned franchisees who not only work hard for their money but also Donate tremendously to the communities they reside in. Who is really getting hurt in all this???? At the end of the day Subway is still buying the same amount of meat…..unless all of this bullshit stops people from buying sandwiches at their stores!

    • I hope “all of this bullshit” does stop people from buying sandwiches from their store. The point is to inform the ignorant masses that there is absolutely nothing wrong with meat that comes from animals treated with anti-biotics (done so under current standards). This information is important so that we do not run down this slippery slope until there is no market for animals treated with anti-biotics. Here in Canada A&W has started serving meat that has not been exposed to anti-biotics. They have a huge advertising campaign about it. This means that A&W has to source almost all of their meat from outside of Canada (most of their meat comes from Australia). It is very sad that they choose not to support Canadian ranchers. I think that you will find as more and more chains switch to anti-biotic free meat (as a marketing ploy) you are going to run out of suppliers. Or all farmers will have to switch to anti-biotic free practices in witch case there will be a lot of sick calves shot in the head. Where will dispose of all these infected carcasses?

  40. lisa

    I agree with you to leave the animals to suffer or shoot it for something a simple shot could cure is stupid you would be out of buisness in no time and or some might turn to selling lies.
    On the other hand some farmers hve gone the way of over vaccinating their animals.. one its a growth hormone that has attributed to most and or farmers not able to just care for those who become sick so they do the lot of them in hopes to keep from getting more sick which if you know how viral things go your not helped your self but caused a potential megga bug to develop.
    The true issue needed is farmers education in how to treat sick animals how to keep them from getting sick in the first place and when and why when vaccines are needed.
    Im also NOT against herbal or special foods that can aid in keeping sickness at bay but like all other things there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

  41. Dan

    What’s wrong with a restaurant choosing how their meat is raised? It is a free country. There will always be some restaurants that want animals that haven’t been administered antibiotics or hormones, and some that won’t That meat isn’t going to go to waste.

    Besides, how the animal is raised (lot vs pasture) is going to have a much bigger impact than breed or “drug free”.

  42. Nathan

    Is it just me? I someone who eats meat without thinking twice. But, I find it hard to compare sick cattle, and sick humans. I guess when we all start eating humans I will consider if that person has been treated or not.

  43. “In my mind, Subway’s announcement states that a bullet is their treatment of choice for sick food animals.”

    In YOUR mind, yet the title of your post suggests this is fact. I find your excellent article to be marred by the unsubstantiated, sensationalistic headline.

  44. Patty Arand

    Subway eliminating antibiotics use in their meat supply menu-wide
    Print this pageLena Brook
    Posted October 20, 2015
    Tags: antibiotic, antibiotics, beef, chicken, policy, pork, resistance, Subway, superbugs, turkey
    More Sharing ServicesShare | Share on twitter | |
    My bags were packed and I was ready to head east to deliver nearly 300,000 signed petitions from concerned activists to Subway leadership in their Connecticut headquarters. Only to see the news of Subway’s antibiotics announcement on my way out the door.

    With the knowledge that NRDC and several other public interest groups were arriving later this week to deliver these petitions, Subway announced today that it is committing to eliminate all antibiotic use in its supply chain over the next decade. Ending the overuse of antibiotics in livestock that are not sick will help curb drug-resistant superbugs responsible for the increase in difficult – or sometimes impossible – to-treat infections in people.

    In August, we launched our campaign pressuring Subway to take action on the issue of antibiotic resistance. Several weeks ago, NRDC, along with our allies at US PIRG, Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth and Vani Hari, from, notified Subway leadership that these petitions would be delivered in October.

    Today, Subway finally provided long awaited details about their company’s new antibiotics policies, making a significant leap forward for the fast food restaurant industry as a whole.

    As of March 2016, Subway says that all chicken at its restaurants will be antibiotic-free, with turkey soon to follow. Subway even made commitments to tackle their pork and beef supply chain in subsequent years, projecting a complete supply chain conversion to antibiotic-free by 2025.

    With this news, Subway is on track to join an elite group of food industry giants, led by Chipotle and Panera, which have committed to shifting their entire meat and poultry supply chains away from production systems that rely on routine antibiotics use. Very few other chains – and none at this scale – have been willing to take such a strong stance when it comes to ending the routine use of antibiotics on animals that aren’t sick. Let’s hope this sparks the beginning of an industry trend. (This move on Subway’s part is especially impressive given that just one short month ago, they were issued a resounding “F” on our first annual fast food scorecard, that ranked 25 of the nation’s largest restaurant chains on their antibiotics policies.)

    The fact that the largest restaurant chain in the world, with 27,000 outlets in the US alone, is prepared to take such a definitive stance on antibiotics overuse sends a strong signal to livestock producers that the market is shifting away from business-as-usual on this issue. Despite the US FDA’s tepid approach on national policy, California and the marketplace are wisely leaping ahead on reigning in antibiotics overuse. Concerned eaters thank them for it.

    There remains one significant gray area in Subway’s antibiotics commitment: the complete absence of any plans for a third party verification program to ensure that their corporate policies are appropriately implemented. I hope that such a verification process will be rolled out as Subway begins to implements their plans in March 2016. It is also worth noting that Subway’s timeline for poultry and turkey seem on target, but a ten-year wait to figure out antibiotic-free beef and pork feels quite long. Hopefully the sandwich giant can get there sooner.

    Until then, we applaud Subway as the newest leader in the fight to keep antibiotics working.

    This is the other side of the the coin that we as Subway restaurants fight. I wish you would fight each other and leave us out of it. It seems to me that this is a win for everyone. There will be no antibiotics used for those who absolutely don’t want them and I am guessing the people who are against this don’t WANT antibiotics used on the animals they just understand it is a necessary part of farming FOR A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE HERD!. It is that small percentage that Subway will not purchase for consumption. There are a million other places these animals can be sold and I as a consumer do not have an issue buying them. Please don’t use social media to destroy a business that i have sacrificed and worked my ass off for. This has been TOTALLY blown out of proportion and it saddens me that it is so easy to use social media to destroy someones livelihood…..there are always 3 sides- his side, her side and the truth………

    • Social media is the only way for all us tiny farmers to fight giant corporations from spreading wild misinformation amongst the masses. This misinformation is Very detrimental to beef producers. What happens when we run down this slippery slope until there is no market for anti-biotic treated animals. Here in Canada A&W uses beef not treated with antibiotics which means that they have to source almost all of their meat outside of Canada. It is sad such a huge chain has decided not to support Canadian farmers. The point is that this move by subway is absolutely pointless because there is absolutely no harm in the use of anti-biotics. Animal anti-biotics and animal antibiotics are completely different and microbes that become resistant to animal medications are not becoming resistant to human medicines so there is no risk towards humans.

    • Jennifer

      Guess what…if everyone followed Subway and A&W’s lead, farmers would have NO PLACE to sell treated animals. If that is the case, your meat prices will sky rocket, because the farmer will have to compensate for the lost product sales from the treated animals. Maybe businesses should do their homework before giving in to the “Food Babe”. She may mean well, but she is clueless on the use of antibiotics in meat animals. While we are at it, maybe everyone signing the petitions of hers should do a little research as well. Don’t sign something unless you are sure the petitioner is properly educated on the topic. Just taking some stranger’s word is not very wise.

  45. If the only options are to let the animal die, shoot it in the head, or give it antibiotics, then what happened before antibiotics?

    If Subway’s plan pushes more cattle out of feed lots so that there’s less bacteria and sickness, and therefore less use of antibiotics, then I say good job subway!

    • Mike

      Selman Waksman (I believe is how you spell his name), that we studied in biology, first defined antibiotic in 1941. Prior to antibiotics, the cattle probably were allowed to just perish, much as humans did. Common use of antibiotics began about 1950 in livestock.

    • before anti-biotics animals just suffered until they died or were shot (duh). It’s a wonder that we don’t have to live in those times, we have so many technological advancements why would we not use them? This will not result in less cattle in feedlots. There will be as many cattle in feedlots as there needs to be. As long as there is demand for beef it will be met. There will just be a lot more waste. If animals that get sick are left to die then a lot more animals will have to be produced to get the amount of healthy animals that there needs to be to meet demand. Which means a lot more of an environmental impact, a much greater cost to consumers, a greater cost to producers. It’s a lose/lose. And all this because people are misinformed about the fact that there is no risk at all involved with the use of anti-biotics

  46. Mike

    The thing that gets me is that Subway’s owners are called Doctor’s Associates. The founders were a doctor and a med student. Does this mean that they will refuse a mother who demands an antibiotic for her child even after she is told that the illness causing her child to be sick is a virus and not a bacteria. I personally don’t think so. I have seen doctors order antibiotics for people just because the patient told them they need one. Subway is the hypocrite here. Look to the public to see where antibiotic resistance comes from.

  47. rob

    Disgusting fear-mongering. Anyone who believes that treatment choices are limited to antibiotics or “a bullet” is part of the problem.

    Farmers (yes, real life farmers!) who raise meat for antibiotic-free markets care for their animals just as diligently as every other producer. When an animal requires treatment with antibiotics, the animal is treated and sold into the regular market. No animal suffers, no food is wasted.

    There are legitimate scientific concerns about the over-reliance on antibiotics in agriculture. The issue is not, and never has been, residues in the meat. Giving consumers a choice is one way (not the only way) to encourage change and improvement.

    You are free to agree or disagree with Subway’s decision. But there is no need to do it by making false, misleading, and offensive statements about the practices and products of the farmers who are offering this choice.

    • But what happens when we run down this slippery slope until there is no market left for beef that has been treated by anti-biotics. Then the only option will be to shoot this animals. The masses are uneducated and ignorant. They believe everything they are fed. And when large corporations like subway are the ones doing the information spoon feeding how is the little farmer to compete? The most common antibiotics used in people are in the penicillins family, while ionophores are the most commonly used antibiotics in animals. In fact, ionophores are not used at all in people. In most cases, commonly used antibiotics in people are not commonly used in animals and vice versa. Therefore microbes that may become resistant to animal anti-biotics would not be resistant to human medicine.

  48. Vicki

    I think the author and most commenters are missing the point about feeding antibiotics to animals. It is the mass feeding of antibiotics in chicken feed/hog feed as prophylaxis to healthy animals that is the issue. Not the rare animal who actually does have an infection. The fear of mass feeding of antibiotics is that this will cause antibiotic resistant organisms meaning the antibiotics will no longer kill the intended bacteria. This is the case in humans-good luck if you develop an infection in a hospital today as antibiotics no longer work due to misuse (overuse) of antibiotics to humans. If this happens on farms, there will be many more animals shot than the author is talking about on her farm at present.

    • So you are afraid that the over use of anti-biotics in animals will lead to the anti-biotics being unusable on the animals which will lead to the animals having to be shot so your solutions is just stop using anti-biotics altogether (which means we will have to shoot the animals anyways)?

  49. Carl

    I feel your pain. We raise free range
    Chickens and explaining that I’m ethically bound to treat sick animals is part of being a farmer. We don’t use broad spectrum antibiotics delivered daily through feed, but we do have to treat the sick ones. Anything less would be cruel and poor business sense

  50. Jack Knight

    having worked in certifying hogs antibiotic free/outdoor/humane and as an organic certifier I will add there is another choice its simply placing the antibiotic treated animal into another market. thats what both organic and antibiotic free certifications to do manage the occasional treated animal. Tempest in a teapot to be upset about this.

    • You’re missing the point. The trend and the intent is to eliminate the use of antibiotics completely in animal food production- which means that ultimately any sick animal will have to be removed in some manner from food production.

      “That would never happen,” you might say. I agree and in fact hope that is true, but do you see some of the unintended consequences of a large number of food service providers adopting Subways policy?

      Meat from antibiotic treated animals will now be discounted in the market, meaning it goes to people that either understand that there’s no difference, or people who, by virtue of their income level choose the cheaper product. Now we’ve established a situation where low income people are eating a “inferior” and implied unsafe food.

      Oh the tangled web we weave, when at first we practice to deceive.

      Science and facts do indeed matter, not just personal choice.

      • Jack Knight

        its a free market economy consumers can make any and all the decisions they want to no matter how it effects anybody thats the american way freedom once the public is educated they want more niche market ag products its only the ignorance of what CAFO meat really is,and what it does that the CAFO meat industry has gotten so large its freedom to choose get used to it. its the sort of conservative idealism that conservatives relish freedom

      • Dan

        The intent is to eliminate any consumption of meat and make forced vegans of all of us.

      • Marianne

        @dborth– I love your way of thinking! I’ll take that “inferior” cheaper product because I am both intelligent and frugal.

    • A Koester

      What dose the organic farmer do with a sick animal? I know they treat with antibiotics, I have friends that are organic farmers. They have rules about selling them to slaughter after the witholding time of the drug residue is up just like regular farm animals. You forget to say that in your post. What Im trying to say is organic animals DO also get sick and they dont just let them suffer or not treat them with the terrible antibiotics. At some time all good farmers have to treat a sick animal, we can afford to lose any of our livestock big or small. Dont preach organic farmer never uses antibiotics they do like the rest of agriculture dose.

      • Hannah Duer Giffen

        there are other alternatives to antibiotics such as Homeopathic remedies.I have used them on my animals and myself including family and friends and they are a wonderful way of curing the sick and diseased or injured. they just dont want you to know about it.

      • Claude Slagenhop


      • Ummmm…. I am pretty sure that isn’t true that organic farmers are allowed to use anti-biotics and then sell their meat into organic markets. And if it is true then what the HELL is the point of organic meat???? or of subway saying they are gonna use meat that has seen antibiotics? If this is true I am gonna be even angrier than I am now about this whole thing!!!! So as long as we tell people we are organic than we can still use antibiotics?

    • Harvey kountz

      Exactly, Most all of our calves sold every year are sold as being “all natural”., meaning they have never been given any kind of an antibiotic or growth stimulant.

    • And when every food outlet in the country jumps on the “let go antibiotic free” band wagon to scare consumers then we can get out the bullets.
      False information dose nothing but boost the bottom line for everybody but the people who are caring for the animals.

      • Cody

        At the end of the day if this what the consumer wants then it is up to us a producers if we want to produce our products for that market or not. It comes down to marketing and if your opposed to producing to their requirements find another market for your products. I struggle with the conventional industry fighting market demands all of the time because of having to make changes in their production practices. At the end of the day it’s what the customer wants even if science does not support it we have to be willing to adapt to market our product. Also just to the discussion above under the organic standards and regulation if an animal is sick treatment must be administered and the animal must be identified and sold as non-organic.

    • But what happens when we run down this slippery slope and there is no longer a market for animals treated with vaccines?

  51. Joe

    From what I read, Subway would be interested in purchasing 92.2% of you herd going for slaughter and that you would have only 7.8% to sell to those that don’t care about the animal being previously treated. Their statement does not say that they want to kill all animals that are unhealthy. You turned it into this statement. Even off Subway had its own farms to raise their own meat, it doesn’t mean that they could not treat some that needed it and then sell those on the meat market to anyone who would want them. I think you need to chill out a little.

    • Slade Egan


    • You’re missing the point. The trend and the intent is to eliminate the use of antibiotics completely in animal food production- which means that ultimately any sick animal will have to be removed in some manner from food production.

      “That would never happen,” you might say. I agree and in fact hope that is true, but do you see some of the unintended consequences of a large number of food service providers adopting Subways policy?

      Meat from antibiotic treated animals will now be discounted in the market, meaning it goes to people that either understand that there’s no difference, or people who, by virtue of their income level choose the cheaper product. Now we’ve established a situation where low income people are eating a “inferior” and implied unsafe food.

      Oh the tangled web we weave, when at first we practice to deceive.

      Science and facts do indeed matter, not just personal choice.

      • … Now we’ve established a situation where low income people are eating a “inferior” and implied unsafe food. <– This has happened long ago.

      • Joe

        Since when is the Internet trying to do anything. The Internet has no mind and no will. It is inanimate. And for trends, all people do not follow trends. I think you are the one missing the point and trying to make a big deal of nothing. It’s a free market. Buy animals from who ever you want to and sell animals to who ever you want to. I will buy mine from who I want to and sell to who I want to. It’s America, you are free to do that. That is the point.

      • cowlady

        You have it upside down. Last time I checked prices in the grocery store orgainc food prices far exceed ‘regular’ prices. Makes one wonder that what the price of a Subway sandwich might be come 2016.

    • rob

      do you believe that subway ceo’s would stop giving thier children anti-biotics to make thier children healthy? total BS marketing ploy.

    • I am pretty sure that isn’t how it would work Joe. Subway would have to buy their meat from an organic certified producer to ensure the animals had never seen anti-biotics. I am in Canada and here A&W uses meat that has never seen antibiotics, this means that almost all of the meat that A&W uses has to be sourced from outside of the country (mostly from Australia) because there is very little organically produced beef in Canada. That’s a loss for Canadian Beef producers.

    • Joe, you are wrong. People absolutely do follow trends, in masses. People are ill informed they believe whatever they are told. So they are completely free to make their own choices, of course. But shouldn’t those choices be based on good information? Why are you mad at this lady and this article for giving the real story? For giving the facts? The truth? It’s okay for Subway to release this mass of misinformation and let the public decide based on that but it’s not okay for a farmer to try and educate the public on how beef is really produced? I can give you some examples of how people blindly follow trends and misinformation, do you know what Angus meat is Joe? Probably not, but it’s advertised as being superior, people don’t know why or if that’s true but they just eat it up. It’s just advertising. Complete misinformation

  52. Scott

    The problem today is that society is several generations removed from the farm. It is up to us in Agriculture to make sure we educate the public on the sound practices we exercise on the Farm to ensure food safety. Great article keep up the education

    • Jack Knight

      the more the public knows about modern industrial ag the more they will turn to niche market products, regardless of whoevers science is quoted. I am not saying this is good or bad. It just is. The real problem in modern ag isnt scare tactic marketing or food safety issues its the producers that are not doing an exemplary job Blame your friends neighbors and relatives whose operations cant stand a close look. They are the ones causing image problems. Until we get over midwest rural polite and call out the bad actors in our own circle will we solve the image problem of industrial ag.

  53. Lori

    “In your mind” is not fact. Quit being a drama queen. Yes animals need to be treated. Subway has said nothing about killing animals treated with antibiotic. DUMB.

    • What do we do with these animals then if no one will buy them? Subway is just the start. Once they announce this, others will follow. Food production will then have to change. What she is saying would ultimately come to pass if no other sources would buy the meat. She isn’t being a drama queen, she is looking to the possible (and really likely) future if those in agriculture do not stand up for the truth. I doubt that she needs that much meat for her family in one-two years.

      • PaulE

        So, what is the likelihood that absolutely NO ONE will buy meat that comes from animals that have been treated with antibiotics?


        Even if EVERY SINGLE U.S. company followed suit, which is unlikely as long as Walmart exists, there are still over 6,000,000,000 people on the planet who like food and who have no problem with buying food from the U.S.

        This “slippery slope” has been coated with imaginary grease.

    • You’re missing the point. The trend and the intent is to eliminate the use of antibiotics completely in animal food production- which means that ultimately any sick animal will have to be removed in some manner from food production.

      “That would never happen,” you might say. I agree and in fact hope that is true, but do you see some of the unintended consequences of a large number of food service providers adopting Subways policy?

      Meat from antibiotic treated animals will now be discounted in the market, meaning it goes to people that either understand that there’s no difference, or people who, by virtue of their income level choose the cheaper product. Now we’ve established a situation where low income people are eating a “inferior” and implied unsafe food.

      Oh the tangled web we weave, when at first we practice to deceive.

      Science and facts do indeed matter, not just personal choice.

      • Joe

        Since when is the Internet trying to do anything. The Internet has no mind and no will. It is inanimate. And for trends, all people do not follow trends. I think you are the one missing the point and trying to make a big deal of nothing. It’s a free market. Buy animals from who ever you want to and sell animals to who ever you want to. I will buy mine from who I want to and sell to who I want to. It’s America, you are free to do that. That is the point.

        Look I can copy my post under each of yours because you keep posting the same thing over and over.

    • PaulE I don’t think this slippery slope scenario is imaginary. There are a lot of dumb people in this world (demonstrated by most of these comments). People just buy in to what they are told whether it is true or not. Why are so many of you persecuting this woman for giving the facts. If no one stands up and tells the real story and instead we just let corporations feed us misinformation than I can totally see the use of antibiotics being used on animals being banned one day. Do you know how many dumb laws and safety regulations have been made just based on fear and misinformation? A shit ton

  54. Jack Knight

    smart producers will fill the niche markets and make more money and handle fewer deadly poisons other producers will whine about it and make less money

    • Lindsey

      I believe you have a limited understanding of how hard it is to become an organic farmer. I encourage you to take some time and look it up. Now onto a bit of a side note. I do not understand why my animals should die for basically no reason what so ever. Lets take for example lily she was my baby, my favirtue from the day I saw her born. She was a perfect healthy red calf who has some how accumulated all the sass and gumption of the world into one tiny body. About 2 weeks after she was born she became extremely sick with pneumonia (which is deadly to calves) and had salmonella (which is even more deadly.) The combination of the two is fatal for almost every cAlf bit not my luly. Anibotics and her will to live saved her life, along with me administering her a nebulizer every morning and evening.
      This is a slippery slope we are on due the consumers lack of knowledge of agricultural and what is actually in their food. These marketing ploys have a trickle effect that in a few years have the potential to create a market that does not tolerate any antibiotics administered at any time. Should lily have died? Should her frail little body become lifeless in my arms when their was a way to heal her, make she into the string beautiful cow she is today. Leting thousands of cattle and birds die when their is a way to help is inhumane. I will not stand buy and watch my animals die and suffer for nothing. I refuse.

    • poisons??? Anti-biotics are poison??? Have you ever taken antibiotics??? Have you gone to the doctor and he said “You have an ear infection. Here is a prescription for some antibiotics” and you said to him “Oh No! I know better than that! You are trying to poison me! You are nothing but a quack!”. You sir, Mr Jack Knight, are an idiot. A phenomenal, phenomenal idiot. Choose to eat whatever meat you want but don’t attack a woman who is trying to educate the public on true facts against a company who is spreading misinformation.

  55. Great article. My husband and I raise beef cattle in Canada. It makes me crazy when fast food places use the line “raised without antibiotics or steroids ” in their commercials. You make some great points. People just don’t realize that a bullet is the alternative if we were not allowed to treat our animals with antibiotics when they are sick.

  56. Julie

    Great article! There has become way too large of a disconnect in our society between producers and consumers and the only way to bridge that is by being open and talking about the reality of how we operate on the producer side. I really appreciate you trying to address the hype out there.

    • Jack Knight

      it is exactly consumer education that is driving more consumers to niche markets. when they were ignorant they didnt care the more they learn the more will go to niche markets an education plan of showing off CAFO meat production will not have a good outcome for industrial ag Industrial ag would be better off to keep their head low and not brag about CAFO meat production

      • Seems to me Jack that you aren’t interested in consumer education and that you only want your version of the story told, or at least that’s what I have been seeing in all your comments. This article has presented nothing but facts about how antibiotics are used and how no antibiotics remain in the meat by time it hits the market and yet you are attacking it. In defence of subway you say that consumers should be able to choose and decide for themselves what they want to eat. So subway can spread misinformation and that’s okay but when a farmer presents the facts you attack her. Pathetic. If you have so much faith in your “Niche markets” and your grass fed beef and consumers deciding then you would peacefully let one side present their arguments and the other side present theirs and then just leave it at that.

  57. Marc

    I am a little confused by your blog. I see you put your own spin on the subway story to make yourself and others in ag look like victims. You said “In my mind, Subway’s announcement states that a bullet is their treatment of choice for sick food animals.” In no way did subway say this you have every opportunity to market your treated animals to Tyson, Cargill or whoever the hell wants to buy them. rather than always victimizing those in ag maybe we need to take a real look at the not so good things we as agriculturist do. And then we will be able to truly fix the publics perception of ag. I’ll pose you with this question, is the publics problem with antibiotics because they don’t like animal husbandry/welfare or is it because they don’t like the idea of using antibiotics to make animals eat and gain more weight?

    • You’re missing the point. The trend and the intent is to eliminate the use of antibiotics completely in animal food production- which means that ultimately any sick animal will have to be removed in some manner from food production.

      “That would never happen,” you might say. I agree and in fact hope that is true, but do you see some of the unintended consequences of a large number of food service providers adopting Subways policy?

      Meat from antibiotic treated animals will now be discounted in the market, meaning it goes to people that either understand that there’s no difference, or people who, by virtue of their income level choose the cheaper product. Now we’ve established a situation where low income people are eating a “inferior” and implied unsafe food.

      Oh the tangled web we weave, when at first we practice to deceive.

      Science and facts do indeed matter, not just personal choice.

    • Zoe

      No one uses antibiotics to make animals eat and gain more weight though, and how is using antibiotics to treat bacterial infections a “not so good thing we as agriculturists do”? Because I think it’s a pretty good thing personally.

      • Dani

        Actually, 90% of antibiotic use on livestock is at a subtherapeutic level, which means it’s not for treating illnesses. Mostly the animals are dosed at low levels to cause animals to grow fatter, faster, and this is what the anti-antibiotic use movement is fighting. Not treating sick animals. Though some small farms may not use antibiotics in this way, the vast majority of factory farms, which still account for 99% of the meat sold today, do. The person who wrote the article is either unaware of this, or chooses to ignore it.

      • Dani that’s entirely untrue. I don’t know where you are getting your stats from but I think you are being fed some bullshit. I have seen a few comments about how antibiotics are used to make animals fatter. I don’t know if you missed a science class or something but that’s not what antibiotics do. Hormones are used to make animals fatter, but that’s a completely different issue (by the way hormones are also completely safe). I live in Saskatchewan Canada, farming is what we do. My grandpa was a beef producer, my dad was a beef producer, for a short time I was a beef producer, I have countless rancher friends, I have grown up in the heart of ranch country, I have never seen a farmer that uses antibiotics for anything other than treating illnesses. The only place I have seen antibiotics used as a preventative measure (which is probably bad practice) is in chicken feed, and that’s because chickens die left, right, and center. If you look at a chicken wrong it dies.

  58. Chris

    What a bunch of crap! Sensationalist headline based in ZERO fact!! That’s what Subway announced? Really? There is no other way to euthanize a sick animal other than a bullet? This is journalistic sensationalism, and essentially an outright LIE. Gimme a break!!!

    If I were Subway, I’d be looking at a lawsuit here. Defamation, anyone?

    • Chris

      I read your “about me” – you have a BA in Psych…which makes you an expert on Subway’s supply chain. Got it.

    • Chris I thought that you were gonna argue that Subway wasn’t suggesting you kill the animal at all but you are just arguing the method of euthanization. That’s really stupid. Do you know a lot about how to kill an animal? Do you have some other suggestions? Take em to the vet maybe and get em put down? that’s gonna get pretty costly when you are dealing with thousands of head of cattle, and this is a business. Not to mention that I don’t really see anything inhumane about shooting a cow. You see you gotta do it just right, there is a soft spot in the middle of their skull that if you hit the cow dies instantly. I seen my dad shoot a cow with a little .22 (that’s a fairly small calibre rifle). That cow died so fast it didn’t even fall over, it looked more like it’s leg’s pulled up from underneath it and it hovered in the air for a second before it fell. I realize that wasn’t even a very clear description but it was the weirdest thing I have ever seen. I have never seen anything die quicker.

  59. Guest

    You better be careful Subway doesn’t sue you for slander for your opening statement which you say Subway said but didn’t (Subway announces). Only as you put it later, “in your mind”.

  60. Alexandra

    Thank you for your article. I found it to be informative and thought provoking. I am one who cares greatly about where my food is grown and the humane practices used during the life of the animal and during the slaughter.

    I am curious about your animals living conditions and diet….I am asking because (I usually ask too many questions to be honest 😉 a local farmer near me who keeps about four hundred heads at a time has an antibiotic rate of less than two percent (I am implying in no way you have not cared for your animals nor that the need for antibiotics is a bad one….yes some are overused but can be life saving. I am not anti – antibiotic just like to use in careful moderation) so I am curious what the difference might be? Is it diet, region, type of cattle, prophylactic use, or some other factor I am not considering? My farmer (who tolerates too many questions from me) that I am speaking of is in missouri, grass feeds entirely, and has about 100 acres for them to roam.

    • Papshay

      I thought that production of 5500 head in one year doesn’t sound like a ‘farm’. But 400 head on 100 acres is crazy. Both operations sound like stocker operations. We are a cow/calf operation and rarely have to use antibiotics on the calves. For my own peace of mind, we do not use implants either. But I can guarantee that once the steers leave here, they are implanted and put on a feed containing antibiotics to avoid shipping fever and other diseases.

    • I think your info might be a little wrong Alexandra (no offence), 100 acres wouldn’t support 400 head of cattle. They wouldn’t be entirely grass fed if they were on 100 acres anyways. You would have to feed a lot to supplement their grass. I live in Canada and I can tell you that on our farm I would say that most of the antibiotics given are given when they are very young. Navel infections are common (not common but the most common illness I think), we also give antibiotics for pneumonia. The problem in Canada is our harsher weather conditions (especially at calving). Most producers calve in the spring (some in the fall, but they are very few), often in the spring the pens are very muddy from all the snow melting this lends itself to infection particularly in newborn calves (keep in mind it’s also still quite cold here during this period). Some producers try to calve in the very early spring before the snow starts to melt to avoid this but then you are dealing with even colder conditions and this presents it’s own set of problems. The calves are born very wet and if the mother doesn’t clean them off right away or if they are born out in the open in the wind or if it is an especially cold day the calves can freeze parts of their ears off and they can also freeze their feet very badly. In the fall when you sell your calves most calves are bought my feedlots. Now if your calf has frozen ears the feedlot will pay you a lot less for that calf because there is a chance that it also froze it’s feet when it froze it’s ears. The feet may look fine and may seem healthy but there is a chance that later down the road when the calf is in the feedlot that it’s feet might play out on them and the unhealthy calf will eat less and gain less weight and that means a loss of profit for the feedlot.

  61. AJ

    I would like to understand this issue further from both sides. My understanding of the antibiotic issue in meat was regarding the practice of giving antibiotics as part of a standard feeding regimen to healthy animals, not the treatment of actual illness. Here is an article on that topic.

  62. Rian

    I am a new farmer. I’m not so tied up in what I eat, I like all beef. I would prefer clean-safe beef. My concern is more for the market I like. I’m going grass fed and finished, potentially organic as well. At least Certified Naturally Grown. I’m not sure about antibiotics, I haven’t needed any, 3 years in. I’m growing my herd not purchasing so no new introductions to the farm. New Bulls will be in kept separate for a period of time and health checked. This is what I’ve done to reduce the amount of sick cows and need for antibiotics. That is just what I wanted right or wrong. My real focus is my market. I want to sell to the grass fed/organic market. You should produce animals the way your customer wants. I recently found out I can get a great price for my steers without going organic. The butcher I used wants all my cows and doesn’t need them organic, yet offered me a high price. Now I will produce my cows how he asks. A 5500 cow operation should have enough land to have 2 lots. One could focus on the new subway market and if an animal needs to be treated it could go to your current market lot. You could team up with another operation that would take your treated animals at a negotiated price. I disagree with the comments that the public is removed from the farm. The farmers seem to be removed from the public a bit. Diversify, you should produce what the public wants, not try to convince them to take what you have or that it’s just as good or better.

    • Rian, that’s awesome that you are going organic and it sounds like you are raising very healthy cattle. However I would be willing to bet that you are raising cattle on a very small scale. I am just curious how many cattle you have and how much space you have? You grass feed them and send them straight to the butcher from your farm so I would assume they have a lot of open pasture to graze. That’s good, that’s healthy for the cows. But in larger operations it doesn’t work like that. On a large ranch the cows and calves may have as much room as yours (or maybe not) until the time when they are sold to a feedlot. In feedlots many cattle are kept in closer quarters and they are much more susceptible to infection. Now you might say, “well why doesn’t everyone farm like me then”. Well because that isn’t sustainable, the demand for beef is too great. There wouldn’t be enough room to raise enough cattle to meet demand by raising all beef on grass. Now I am in Canada so my situation is totally different anyways. We only have grass for a few months a year. In the summer the cattle are put to pasture and in the winter they are brought back to the farm to be fed hay and grain, The cattle are in much tighter conditions through the winter, and our harsh weather during calving season leaves newborn calves susceptible to infection

  63. Pingback: Agriculture Community Bands Together | Calves with KT

  64. Dreabon

    I am a broiler grower and raise chickens for a large integrator. The feed furnished by the integrator contains a broad spectrum antibiotic, up to ten days prior to slaughter. Three to four days prior to slaughter blood and fat samples are taken from each barn and sent to the lab to assure that there are no residual antibiotics or other undesirable contaminants in the flock.

    This is the only way that The American farmer can produce the volume of healthy protein required by the consumer.

    Folks that were raised on concrete and never been outside their fishbowl of urban environment have no concept of the circle of life and what is required so that every time they go to the restaurant or market that there is fresh meat available.

    • Jack Knight

      the closer look the public gets at modern industrial ag the more will go to niche market labels and products. I say keep your head low and dont brag about how its done in CAFO meat production. It will backfire. Im not saying this is a good thing its just how it is

      • Dreabon you are right. I don’t think people realize just how much food must be produced to meet demand. Food has to be produced on an industrialized level or there just simply wouldn’t be enough food. I have about 100 chickens, egg layers mostly, some broilers. They are free range, the eggs truly do taste better from free range chickens but there is no way the worlds demand for eggs could be met by this method of chicken farming. I do a lot of work and spend a lot of money on feed and get very little in return. I am losing money hand over fist (I just do it cuz I like chickens) and I am supplying eggs to a very few number of people.

  65. Concerned

    I am most curious about the rates of antibiotic use you cite for your farm, and how your rate compares to others. You treated 7.8% of your animals for illness over two years…is this high? Low? Could this number be reduced by adopting certain hygiene or other practices?

  66. I wonder if that is how Subway feels about people????? Perhaps they should do some research and find out the facts before making sweeping statements about farmers/ranchers and agriculture in general. They must be employing someone from PETA on their board of directors.

  67. Dalton Thibodeaux

    I’m very curious about the methods available for sick animals which were described as let them slowly die or shoot them. It seems to me that there would be some other options such as medically put them down like terminally ill pets are done.

    • Zoe

      Shooting is just as humane as chemical euthanasia if both are done correctly, the problem is that you’d have to pay a vet to come out and euthanase your animal rather than just doing the job yourself for the cost of a bullet.

    • Hi Dalton, I’m a cattle veterinarian and am faced with this dilemma. While chemical euthanasia is preferable for small animals, it can be incredibly expensive to do a large animal ($100 or more). We also have to worry about the carcass, as it has been documented that other scavenger animals can come and eat that carcass, then die. The chemical euthanasia solution is also a controlled substance (like Percoset, morphine, etc.) and requires additional cumbersome paperwork.

    • Jack Knight

      blunt head truama for younger animals rifle shot to the forehead for larger stock this is standard protocol for humane certification

      • Jack knight I have never seen anyone use blunt trauma to kill an animal but I have seen Cattle shot in the head and I have done it myself. There is a soft spot in the middle of the skull that if you hit the animal dies instantaneously. You have never seen anything die faster. It’s crazy. No suffering at all. Probably more humane than dragging out someones existence in a nursing home for decades. Also I don’t know a lot about chemical animal euthanization but I have heard a lot of cases lately of death row inmate chemical executions going wrong so I wouldn’t jump to a conclusion and say that that is flawless either. In the end it’s a business and you have to take cost into account or you simply wouldn’t have ranches

  68. This reminds me of the whole “pink slime” debate. Animals treated with antibiotics will eventually be like the ground beef called pink slime, it was fine too— what do pink think processed chicken nuggets are made of- white slime. Somehow the few who just don’t understand reality seem to make the “unthinkable” happen. This is a precursor for the same type of situation just like the author states allowing this to become mainstream will cause problems down the road.

  69. Animal Semen

    I love the point where you think you’re so humane talking about Subway isn’t because they might put a bullet in an animal’s head. I was dying and almost dropped my phone from laughing so hard. Then you go on to talk about how your animals live for 2 years. Aka you obviously kill them you sick freak of nature Texas Chainsaw Massacre woman. You aren’t exactly humane either. How about you try to get the brain in your skull working properly. You’re only mad because Subway is talking shit on your style of farm. Deal with it Jabroni.

    • GodDelusional

      Humane is using antibiotics on sick animals. Inhumane is refusing to sell meat from antiobiotic-treated animals, thus starting an asinine trend where any animal treated with antibiotics is discarded, aka killed, since it has no value. Have a wound? Sorry, going to have to put her down. Flu? Kill it before it spreads through the herd. See?

    • First off, I don’t know how you can think that anyone will take you seriously with a name like animal semen. Obviously you are a very intelligent person (sarcasm). Secondly you are obviously against the consumption of meat entirely which means that this isn’t even a conversation that you belong in because you don’t agree with either side.

  70. Julie

    My husband is a Farmer and been a Livestock Auction owner for years. We are also Subway Franchisees. I have no issue eating meat where the animal has been treated with antibiotics. I grew up on a farm that our family has owner for over a century. Todays society and the “Threats” that are made by our Social Media bully our system. The same way the title to this article “Subway says a bullet is their treatment of choice for sick animals.” Feed Yard Babe. They did not say that. You are using the same unethical tactic to gain attention to yourself, and I cannot respect you for that fact. America EDUCATE yourself and stand up for what you believe in.

  71. there are other alternatives to antibiotics such as Homeopathic remedies.I have used them on my animals and myself including family and friends and they are a wonderful way of curing the sick and diseased or injured. they just dont want you to know about it.

    • Sarah

      I got a nasty infection in my eye last weekend. Ate a whole right thru the outer layer of my eye. Not once did I think “maybe I could try a an all natural remedy bc I’ll be tainted for life if I use an antibiotic” … Doc gave me an antibiotic, strict orders to use it so I wouldn’t loose my vision and I abided. Guess subway will be putting a bullet in my head tmro. I’m worthless now.

    • No. Just no. Homeopathic does not work.

  72. Sarah

    I will not comply! Perfectly said!

  73. Pigz07

    You have to change the background, I cannot read your story, although I would like to as I most likely agree with you.

  74. Tom Paben

    Great article and right on the mark. Thanks for telling our story

  75. Mike ST

    It sounds like a cash cow to me. Charge Subway more for an antibiotic free cow. Who cares if the price of a sub goes up. Then the consumer will choose if they want to buy the more expensive sub.

  76. Chris

    I understand your perspective but I think something may be overlooked here. I did not read the entire article because of the direction it was going. It is actually quite simple and a great way to have a value added product. If you start with 100 head and 8 of them need antibiotic therapy for an illness that is not a problem. They would be regular or conventional animals and not condemned at slaughter. However, now you have 92 head who have received no antibiotics and could be marketed as such. No one would with reasonable thought would say shoot the sick animal rather than treat it to end the suffering. I feel your interpretation of the position is a far reach and does not serve to enhance the image of beef producers. It seems beneficial to look for opportunities to have a value added product.

    • That’s not how it works. Subway would be getting their meat from a certified organic farm. If you were not certified organic then you wouldn’t be able to sell any of your cattle to subway, even if they had never had antibiotics. And I am pretty sure you can only be certified organic if you don’t use antibiotics on any of your animals (I think). Here in Canada A&W uses meat that hasn’t had antibiotics used on it. This means that A&W has to get almost all it’s beef from Australia because there are very few organic beef farms here. Now you might think “Well why don’t they just test the meat at slaughter and if it has antibiotics in it then subway won’t buy it and if it doesn’t have antibiotics in it then they will buy it.” Well as the article states They DO test meat at slaughter and NO MEAT EVERY HAS ANTIBIOTICS IN IT WHEN IT REACHES SLAUGHTER, if a cow has had antibiotics it can not be slaughtered until they antibiotics are out of it. That’s the whole point of the article, informing the public on this fact because subway is misleading the public to think that meat does have antibiotics so this nice lady thought she would write an article that simply gives the facts and everyone is attacking her. Subway’s plan to switch to Antibiotic free meat will make NO DIFFERENCE, the meat at subway will still have the same amount of antibiotics as it did before WHICH IS NONE. It never did, it never will. All this move by subway does is misinform the public and potentially create a dangerous trend leading down a slippery slope where antibiotics in animals are completely banned

  77. I would like to reiterate here what I commented earlier this afternoon. I appreciate that there are many different view points on this issue. I believe that everyone is entitled to their own unique opinion.

    I very much appreciate those that took the time to read (and those that commented as well), and ask that you please be thoughtful and respectful in your statements. I would also ask that you read the blog post carefully and in its entirety in order to fully understand my thoughts.

    I will offer more explanation when I have a chance to read each comment. The farm is busy right now, and it may take me a couple of days to get through all of the comments.

    Thank you,

    • Jack Knight

      It is easy for me to understand how this sort of thing is upsetting to you and all the other producers who do an exemplary job. Its not producers like you that cause the real and imagined image problems for ag. I do think the angst and anger would be better directed to De Coster the chicken magnates and others who fail to hold to high standards rather than consumers who may or may not be led astray with marketing claims and niche market labels. I have utmost respect for you Anne and see how your response reflected deep though dramatic concern sincerely

  78. joe

    I could only imagine the death loss in cattle, chickens, hogs,etc. If antibiotics weren’t used.

    • Jack Knight

      depends on the management antibiotic free and organic producers can cut antibiotic use 99% ive audited hundreds of these farms and the animals that get antibiotic are simply sold to another market. Now if you stick with industrial CAFO barns than 100% mortality could result within weeks.. so it depends on the management

  79. Amy

    Oh for cry’n out loud! This is ridiculous. Cattle farmer here bowing her head in shame. Grow up already.

  80. If I comment, will you reply to it with:

    “You’re missing the point. The trend and the intent is to eliminate the use of antibiotics completely in animal food production- which means that ultimately any sick animal will have to be removed in some manner from food production.

    “That would never happen,” you might say. I agree and in fact hope that is true, but do you see some of the unintended consequences of a large number of food service providers adopting Subways policy?

    Meat from antibiotic treated animals will now be discounted in the market, meaning it goes to people that either understand that there’s no difference, or people who, by virtue of their income level choose the cheaper product. Now we’ve established a situation where low income people are eating a “inferior” and implied unsafe food.

    Oh the tangled web we weave, when at first we practice to deceive.

    Science and facts do indeed matter, not just personal choice.”

    If you don’t like the practice, don’t participate. Simple

  81. Christa

    Or… will treat the sick animals with antibiotics if needed. Then wait the required amount of time for the medication to clear from the animals body and sell the animal to a producer that it not in the antibiotic free ranching.

    • Here is the thing Christa, Farmers always wait for the antibiotics to leave the system before selling the cow to market. There is never any antibiotics in meat. NEVER. There are NO antibiotics in meat sold in the regular market. And there are NO antibiotics in the meat sold in the organic market. The two meats have the same amount of antibiotics, NONE. But the public is uneducated and seem to think there are antibiotics in the meat. This idea is propagated by corporations like Subway when they make these kinds of announcements. This kind of misinformation is dangerous because it could lead to the total ban of antibiotics use in animals and lead to the scenario that anne talks about

  82. Dale

    Great article. Bit alarmist, but I think it’s alarmist to get a point across. Every time I hear those stupid A&W commercials I get pissed off. The grocery store is carrying out a similar marketing line with so called ‘certified humane’ meat, but reading the in store flyer, it’s more about what people think are problems than real on farm problems. I think the real concern, is that if public opinion shifts too far through these misleading marketing campaigns, you’ll end up with legislation banning the use of all antibiotics in food animals. So yep, overall great article have to say reading the comment section though —- holy cow there are some dumb people out there, not going to point fingers directly, but, well wow.

    • Man, really agree with this comment Dale. It might be a bit alarmist but in this day and age you gotta be able to get people’s attention. You might have good information but if no one is reading it it doesn’t do a lot of good. Especially when you are a little farmer trying to counter the misinformation put out by big corporations

  83. Larry B

    I have been in the food production industry now as either a responsible livestock farmer- producer of protein meats or in the livestock packing industry of protein meats for over 45 years and you all should be very thankful to know and understand that you are very fortunate to live in a country that takes great pride in the fact that we have the safest food supply system for all consumers in the world … Our meat protein supply / all species is closely monitored and regulated by the USDA . All farmer – producer organizations / of all species start each morning and end each night with a WE CARE ATTITUDE with each and every animal unit that is born and then marketed into the United States of America Food Chain .. Consumer Education is the answer for today’s announcement from the Subway Organization and the direction they say they will take over the next 10 years . That is my opinion and you have every right to yours !!

  84. Jeff

    So, what your saying is that subway shouldn’t be able to choose what they purchase? I understand your argument that the beef is safe as well as agree with that assessment, but I don’t believe your analogy to shooting sick animals holds any water. Subway has the right to purchase whatever they wish within the limits of the law. You also have the right to sell your product that subway doesn’t want to someone else. I believe that the way you presented this is quite dishonest. Unless I missed something where subway or a spokesperson was quoted saying, “sick animals should be shot” or something very similar, you should be ashamed of how you presented this. When you have a valid point, and I think you do, you don’t have to be overly dramatic, or make false statements to support it. That’s a liberal trick and only diminishes your credibility.

    • No. I think what she is saying is “Oh, hey, public, hold on a sec. I know you guys are all kind of alarmed by subways announcement because it has made you think that there are antibiotics in meat. But here are the actual facts for you to consider. Thanks, have a nice day”.

      And yes, you totally have to be overly dramatic to get people’s attention. People these days have the attention span of a goldfish! And do you have any idea how much info is out there?!?! No wonder we skim over most of it! And do you know how much of that information is misinformation?!?!? Most of it! And do you know how hard it is as a small cattle producer to get your voice heard over a big corporation?!?! So, ya she totally did the right thing. Ya know why? Because you read the article. If had been title “Here are some statistics” You wouldn’t have read it, would you have?

  85. Thank You
    fantastic Blog
    Good luck

  86. Audrey Harmon

    You make several very good points which I hope consumers will read.

  87. riddles

    The way I read it – they won’t purchase antibiotic treated meat. Not use a bullet to kill. The rancher/farmer always has the option of moving the animal to another pasture and treating it. They can take it to a sale then – they can have someone they partner with that is willing to purchase a sick animal so they can treat it (cheaper than wasting ti). There are many options besides a bullet. You have taken something they are attempting to do for the good of their customers and spinning negativity. Have you done the same for all organic producers/sellers? Probably not – easy to pick on a large well known company and bash them. Shame on you.

      • K, first of all it isn’t easy to pick a large well known company and pick on them. We are little farmers. With little blogs. Who struggle to get their voices heard. Subway is a massive corporation. They make an announcement like this and suddenly everyone thinks our meat has antibiotics in it (it doesn’t). Secondly, you can’t just sell your treated cattle to a different market and your non-treated cattle to an organic market. I am in Canada and here A&W uses organic beef. For them to claim that their beef is organic they have to buy their beef from certified organic farms. There are very few of those in Canada meaning that almost all of their meat has to be sourced from outside of the country, which hurts local producers

  88. William

    I like how people say they are farmers but don’t understand the simplicity of the fact all natural grass feed cattle is a simply idea raise your 92% of cattle to be sold into that market and then your 7% can be sold into the new niche market of antibiotic cattle. If you think I don’t know cattle think twice raised on a cattle farm as well I’ve been state winner in livestock skills and beef quiz bowl which go more in depth into the the livestock industry than some of you can comprehend. Rant over.

    • K, maybe things work differently down there but I know in Canada here A&W claims to use beef that has never seen anti-biotics. To be able to make this claim they have to buy their meat from certified organic farms. There aren’t a lot of those here so almost all of their meat has to be sourced from outside the country. Why would they have to source their meat from outside the country if they could just buy the cattle of the regular farms that haven’t been treated.

      Here is another question for ya, if you are gonna take cattle off of a farm that uses antibiotics and sell the non-treated animals to organic markets (like subway) how are you gonna regulate that? How are you gonna prove that those cattle have never seen antibiotics? And don’t tell me that you will just test the meat to see if it has antibiotics in it because what I understood from the article above is that NO MEAT EVER FROM ANYWHERE EVER HAS ANTIBIOTICS IN IT WHEN IT GOES TO SLAUGHTER. All meat no matter what farm it comes from gets tested for antibiotics and if any are found the producer gets in trouble

  89. Brandon

    I understand the whole deal with treating animals and thats fine. But subway did not say anything about bullets or shooting animals in there statement. U said “in your mind” so that is how you interprate it. Subway did not say that at all so quit spreading a bunch of manure with ur fogger lips!!!

    • It’s a blog. Blogs have opinions. I certainly see a lot of stupid opinions being spread in these comments. Are we not allowed opinions? And it’s a tiny exaggeration to get your attention. The point of the exaggeration is to make you realize that if the entire public comes to believe that antibiotics are in meat as a result of misinformation from subway then we could one day end up at the point where we just have to shoot the sick cattle because antibiotics will be banned for use in cattle

      • Patty Arand

        My issue with the article was the malicious intent to ruin my Subway business. I am a Subway INDEPENDENT Franchisee. The headline attacked my way of life and I think I deserve an apology for the lost business I have endured the past week. I am no different than this farmer trying to make a living to raise MY family and contribute to my community. All of the points she made, many of which I believe to be valid, could have been made without trying to ruin my livelihood. The writer needs to recognize how hurtful her words can be and the repercussions because of them……

      • Patty Arand
        I see no “malicious intent” anywhere. Not in the article nor in Subways announcement.

        The intent of the article is to point out the misinformation that subway fosters by implying that the food we are currently buying is full of antibiotics and somehow unsafe for us to eat. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

        The intent of Subways announcement is to increase the profits and market share of there franchisee like you. (that is way you pay them your franchise fee) I would submit to you that Subway is failing in that by you comment that you have lost business. And your comment “ All of the points she made, many of which I believe to be valid” also shows me that they are not representing your believes.

        Both seek to protect both our way of life.
        Your way of life is to provide your customers with safe, wholesome and reliable food for your customers and a secure income for your employees and your family.
        My way of life is to provide my customers (the public) with safe, wholesome and reliable food for my customers and a secure income for my employees and my family.

        Your voice should be the loudest in the crowd telling Subway not to take us down the road of deception. It hurts all our lives by giving the public droughts about what we both do to feed our family.

  90. Pingback: Subway Announces That A Bullet Is Their Treatment Of Choice For Sick Animals. – Andy

  91. Angie

    One issues has not been addressed…why is this becoming so extreme?? Because of abuse and over use we can’t sit and pretend that this hasn’t been the case over the last 15 years. Had people used more discretion and not gone to the dark side treating farm animals excessively with chemicals this probably wouldn’t be an issue. Also for the most part farming is not farming anymore it is more manufacturing. Saying that a bullet is the only answer is lazy because instead of doing the natural easy way to fix farming problems most opted to use complex options that were not natural. So to me this is a matter of giving up rather than fixing a problem instead of patching up a symptom/issue. There are farmers like Joel salatin that stick to what farming should be not what it’s paid to be. When you complain about something that was caused by your industries abuse makes no sense! You mad the bed now lay in it.

    • It’s becoming extreme because of misinformation. Something the author is trying to address. There actually is not an issue with antibiotic use. The issue is with hysteria amongst the ignorant masses.

      Also so let’s say the “farming problem” you mention is a lung infection in a newborn calf, what is the “easy fix” you talk about if we are not suppose to use antibiotics?

  92. Pingback: Feeling Frustrated – Seriously Subway? | Locust Spring Farm

  93. Carrie

    The bottom line in America is few people are truly hungry. The simple facts of not raising their own food and voting to take guns away is proof of this fact. If you offer a starving person food/meat from an animal that has had antibiotics I’m pretty sure they would eat the meat. The further away from the basics of human survival we are (food, shelter and love) the easier it is to waste our time contemplating whether we want organic food or meat from an animal that had antibiotics 203 days ago. If you’re hungry, you’ll eat.

  94. Clay

    I just read a comment recently that stated all meat is antibiotic free given the proper withdrawal period for the medication used.

    What would happen if we applied that philosophy to human health care?

    People choose the science and or pseudoscience that supports their belief system. That often means that the same scientific investigative process followed to support on issue is not adequate to investigate a different issue. Just an observation.

  95. Aaron

    I’m a certified organic cattleman. I’d like to see Subway prove that I treated any of my cattle with antibiotic. By the time the animal is ready to be shipped to market, there is no antibiotic residue in the meat. Food for thought. #jimmyjohnsisbetter #subwaydrawsattentionawayfromjared

    • Joe

      It’s called honest business and not being a used car salesman. With a mindset as you have just shown, better home your purchasers don’t find out who you are that made that comment, because I would no longer purchase you product. You can’t be trusted in your product. Integrity of a man is all he needs to sleep well. You might have lost yours.

    • Jack Knight

      Im an organic inspector i sure hope you didnt just imply you are committing fraud with USDA NOP program you can be sure you will get extra scrutinity from you certifier for this implied statement

    • okay Joe and Jack Knight, relax. That’s not even what he is saying. He is saying there is no difference between organic meat and non-organic meat. BOTH HAVE NO ANTIBIOTICS! You could test them both and you would find the same thing, NO ANTIBIOTICS! He isn’t saying that he used antibiotics on his organic farm. He is saying that even if he did you wouldn’t be able to tell so a move like this by subway is pointless because it changes the meat your eating none! and Aaron, you are totally right, they are just taking the attention away from Jared

  96. Gerrit king

    This is great I mean either way you look at it the animal is going to die it is a commodity but if we can eleminate the toxins and antibiotics from our food supply not only will we be healthier but when we do get sick our antibiotics will acctually work on us. Bacteria is a living thing it will continue to evolve and become resistant to antibiotics. But we can avoid getting cows sick all together if we feed them a proper diet and not fill their Bellies full of corn they can’t digest. This article to me is nothing but a ploy by most likly McDonald’s aka the biggest beef buyer to stomp on subways succes if McDonald’s wants to be cheap and continue feeding us poison that’s fine I’ll just go to subway

    • oh antibiotics are poison. So when a doctor prescribes you some antibiotics you go “I ain’t taking your poison you quack!” Also,The most common antibiotics used in people are in the penicillins family, while ionophores are the most commonly used antibiotics in animals. In fact, ionophores are not used at all in people. In most cases, commonly used antibiotics in people are not commonly used in animals and vice versa. Meaning that if a bacteria were to become resistant to animal medicine it wouldn’t be resistant to people medicine.

      Also, ya, you can totally just prevent all illnesses by not feeding cattle corn, that’s a totally true statement (sarcasm). That’s just like if I only eat vegetables I will never EVER get sick!…. No you are an idiot, of course eating healthy helps you fight against diseases but it doesnt prevent ALL diseases. I live in Canada we don’t feed corn here (we don’t have the growing season for it). We feed barley (or oats or triticale or other such feed grains), our cows still get sick. It’s called nature

  97. Jack Knight

    the antibiotic free label is as much about encouraging management that prevents the need for antibiotics as the concern that antibiotic might be in the food itself . Ive audited hundreds of antibiotic/natural/outdoor and organic livestock farms and can say at the most 1% of the animals needed antibiotic at some point in their lives. CAFOs and large feedlots cannot be managed with the room, bedding, rotation and rests of lots not to mention the fresh air to prevent antibiotic use. That is really the background issue here large feedlots and CAFOs

  98. Donna

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am a very small farmer and although never using antibiotics is ideal it is very unrealistic ! I do beleive antibiotics are over used in some cases however. I also have concerns that some shoot up animals ( primarily beef ) with antibiotics and send them to market before it has a chance to be worked out of their system .
    I do use antibiotics when nessecary sure can’t afford to shoot my cows as an option!!
    Regards Donna

  99. andy

    I’ve been waiting for this day!

  100. Leslie

    The real truth is animals that are either too far gone to respond to treatment or don’t recover don’t typically get shot. They die in hospital pens or alleys or home pens suffering. I was a pen rider in a very prominent feed yard in southwest Kansas.

    • That is not the case on my farm, Leslie. Our farm protocol for treating sick animals is much different than that.

      • A

        The point is that if you don’t treat sick animals with antibiotics, they’ll die. Don’t be a prick by ignoring the real issue addressed in the article.

  101. Pingback: Goodbye, Subway | Sowing Bountifully

  102. I do see where you could comply with the never treated with antibiotics situation by separating and keeping separate the 7.8 % of your animals you did treat and sell the 92% untreated into the higher priced market . The other 8 % can still be sold through the regular livestock sales . I see that as an opportunity to increase your herd value rather than an impediment to your business .

    • That’s not how it works dean. If you are a restaurant that wants to claim that your meat has never seen antibiotics then you have to buy your meat from an certified organic meat farm where they never use antibiotics. (as far as I know)

  103. Keith

    Great article! I raise beef cattle and turkeys in southern Indiana. We have had to change our operations in the turkey business to meet the public demands of the “no antibiotics ever” fad. It is truly sad to see all the waste because we can’t treat a sick animal. I wish people would educate themselves on how farms really work rather believing anything they read on the Internet. To bad there aren’t more articles like this to spread the real truth of how our farming operations really work. Take care!

  104. Colton

    So they want to have 100% antibiotic free cows as a ranch hand I say N/A. However it can be i agree shooting or letting the animal suffer is a waste. So i would suggest keep track of the animals that havn’t been treated and give it to the more picky people of the world. And the animals that have been treated sell to the people who know that the meat is still the same either way I have no problem eating a treated cow. But that’s my spill so you may think I’m stupid or you nay think I’m smart either way I dont care. I just don’t like people complaining about GMO related things. Without antibiotics or GMO we pry wouldn’t be able to feed a lot of people.

  105. Kristi

    The challenge is as a consumer I don’t know if the meat I feed my children from Subway is from your farm and others like yours or the one with 10s of thousands of cattle/chicken/turkey stacked on top of each other in their feces getting antibiotics at a much higher rate. Not all farmers and the ethics of farms are the same. I don’t eat meat, but the quality of meat I give my children is extremely important.

    • Kristi

      I agree that as a consumer it a challenge but not for the reasons you think. The fact is that all of the meat you feed to your children at Subway or any and every restaurant in America is 100% antibiotic free right now and every day.

      It is illegal for me the sell any food animal (for human consumption) that has been treated with anything until that medication is out of there system. The USDA also test meat at every packing house for any drugs in the meat. If any is found the meat is removed and destroyed.

      It may be true as you say “ Not all farmers and the ethics of farms are the same” but in all of my 50+ years I have not known of a single livestock producer who wants to see or will allow any of there animals to suffer without doing something to correct it. And that is the ethics of everyone in the industry.

  106. Please read what we are about will you help us or is it only chicken sick ?

  107. Beautifully written. It’s a shame that many are (as my dad says) “half fast” when it comes to issues of the gut (or heart – either way, it means simply “emotion”). We want perfection, utopia, pleasures without the dirtiness (where food grows). I’ve had long conversations with some of the first people who scattered the seeds of hysteria causing controversies like this. They freely admitted that they’re not interested in saving domesticated farm animals, such as dairy or beef cattle, because they consider those animals as “unnatural abominations.” They want humans to become vegan, but not because they care about animals — they simply hate humans, and anything created by humans, including domesticated, bred animals. PETA is strange, though — they’re very happy to buy dogs and cats that have been bred to look and behave in certain ways. But the public isn’t that intelligent — they don’t analyze the claims, they simply go with their gut in fighting against wrongs and injustices. Such a shame.

  108. I care very much what I feed myself and my family. With that being said, have you ever looked at chicken meat that is sold in stores that are pumped full of antibiotics to make them bigger and those chickens which have not been? Have you tasted the antibiotic filled chicken meat that tastes and has a texture of chewing rubber? I have eaten both, and the chicken meat that are antibiotic free are smaller and actually taste as a true chicken should…not like rubber. For those of you farmers who have sick animals who must be treated with antibiotics, how about you keep that meat to feed yourselves snd your families, and not share these antibiotic – filled animals with the public who doesn’t want to eat chicken with a rubber consistency or antibiotics? This way, your animals are treated the way you see fit, and you get to consume the meat from these animals without having to shoot them…thus protecting those of us from your decisions to alter the food we purchase at stores!

    • First I wan to say to you Patty I am sorry that you have been so miss lead and miss informed. If you ate a chicken that taste like rubber, then I have to think you were eating a rubber chicken.

      As has been posted in other post. It is illegal for any producer or retailer to sell any meat or any other food product that contains antibiotics.

      You don’t have to take it from me just look it up on the USDA website.

    • Thank you Micheal Egner. Patty if you were to read this womans article I think you would notice that what she is trying to do is inform the public that NO MEAT EVER HAS ANTIBIOTICS IN IT WHEN IT GOES TO SLAUGHTER. and where do people keep getting this idea that antibiotics make things fatter. That’s not how antibiotics work. They make animals healthier and then I suppose the healthy chicken eats more. So I guess if you wanna eat your tiny sick chickens thats cool (I am just going by your logic here).

      Also just as a side note when you say that she should eat her own antibiotic treated meat and then she wouldn’t have to shoot them…. ya, if you are gonna eat it…. you still have to shoot. I don’t know if city people know this but before you eat things you have to kill them… ya, you can’t just eat it alive, don’t know if you knew that

  109. Thanks for your comments. Hopefully your logic will be noticed by those in a position of power to bring reason to this insane rampage on the farmer and the humane and necessary ways to make a living.

  110. Bobby Thoman

    Couldn’t read all the comments, but I hope someone pointed out some misconceptions. First, I am a rancher, and I have had calf crops go to slaughter with no antibiotics. That’s right, an entire calf crop, from birth to slaughter, on more than one occasion. So it is possible, but it does require some changes. Second: Really? Only 2 options? Shoot ’em or let ’em die? How about starting with sustainable practices? How about preventative protocols? I think it’s more humane and cost effective to prevent the conditions/diseases than it is to treat it. Third, do you use low-grade antibiotics in your animal feed? I hope not, because this would mean that 100% of your animals are treated, instead of the 7.8% you listed. Finally, there is another way, and the American public is catching on. That is why you have statements like this from businesses responding to consumer sentiment. My advice to you: if consumers are looking for a safer product, you better find a way to provide it, or you will go the way of the dinosaur.

    • I think she is just trying to point out the facts to a misinformed public (like yourself). and the fact is that her product is a safe product. Because it has no antibiotics in it when it goes to slaughter. NO MEAT EVER HAS ANTIBIOTICS IN IT WHEN IT GOES TO SLAUGHTER!

  111. Kevin Welker

    My wife and my two teenage boys and I raise a small group of pigs. We have two large sows and a big boar. We have had three litters of babies so far and have raised two others that we have already slaughtered. Saying that we would have nothing if it weren’t for antibiotics. We came home one day and two were down and the others going fast. They had what we found out to be called purple diamond disease and one shot of antibiotics healed them all and we have had no problem since. Thanks to antibiotics!!!! People don’t know where their food comes from or what it takes to get it raised up to slaughter. I wish at some point everyone should have to slaughter their own beef, pork, or chicken they eat to understand the circle of life!! The point is most wouldn’t and would go hungry first until someone did it for them! Thank you for your dedication to your animals and your way of life.

  112. Pingback: The Friday Five: Et tu, Subway? | Farm Fresh Answers

  113. I have always been under the impression that antibiotics and hormones are present in the animal at slaughter, and that hormone and antibiotic free animals are one’s that 1. have never been treated with hormones and 2. Did not have antibiotics in theirs system at slaughter. This is why I only buy grassfed beef and hormone free/humanely raised chicken. I can’t see that anyone who wants meat free of antibiotics also wants the animal to suffer. I think that if antibiotics are used to treat an animal back to full health, then that is a responsible use of it. What I have always been wary of is eating meat full of antibiotics and hormones but this article is saying that is not the case? I am curious as to what exactly the facts are.

    • Odette

      Your have been mislead like all of the public.

      Fact 1. no food animal sold for human consumption can contain any antibiotics. If I as a producer sell a cow to a packer and the animal contains any antibiotics I would face fines and imprisonment. that is why if I have to treat a sick cow with antibiotics, That animal will not leave my farm until all of the antibiotics have left that animals system and is “antibiotic free”

      Fact 2. Hormones are a normal part of nature. Everything that lives contains hormones. The only thing I (as a producer) treat with hormones are steers. And that is because any male caves (Bulls) that are not going to be raised for breeding are castrated. That is because bull caves have to be separated from the rest of the heard because they will fight. That is dangerous for anyone and anything around. (Including the Bull) After the primary hormone producing organ has been removed from that steer I replace the missing hormone with a implant (that only last 3 months) so he will continue to grow and develop as a healthy animal.(I also can’t sell that steer until that implant is out of his system) You would get more hormones when you eat a salad then what I give my steers so they can grow up happy and healthy.

      You say that you only buy “grass-fed” well grass fed beef has hormones too. and all of my cattle live the first 18 months of there lives on pasture eating nothing but grass. then they go to a feed lot where they only spend about 90 to 120 days before they are harvested. There they are fed a special diet of corn,hay and minerals to finish there healthy development before they are harvested and sold to the public.

    • Jennifer

      Please read Michael’s post below yours. It is an excellent response to your concerns. I think he may not have hit the reply button first, so it will not alert you that someone responded to your post. I hope it helps you understand the situation better.

  114. Pingback: Never say never…Here’s looking at you, Subway | Adventures of an Agvocator

  115. diana628

    Your logic is quite flawed. If you are unable to id each of your animals, if you cannot keep accurate records, if you cannot sort and treat individual animals, you might not be able to sell to Subway unless you use a bullet rather than treat.

    If you are more competent than that you can sell a good portion of your meat to subway at a premium, and the rest to outlets with lower standards. Just because there are standards for antibiotic withdrawal and resudue levels, doesn’t mean those standards are perfect. A food source with no antibiotic resedue will always be less likely to cause antibiotic resistance than a food source with trace levels allowed by the FDA. It should be up to the consumer to decide.

    • Diana
      Well apparently you have not read or researched anything anything posted on this page about the facts. Like the majority of the public you choose to go with the knee jerk reaction to any statement without checking or knowing the facts.

      Fact #1
      As a care taker of animals myself and every other livestock producer keep detailed records of each and every medication and ounce of food that go into everyone of my animals.
      We have to in order to know that the animals we care for are healthy and happy. That prevents stress on the animal and helps them and us as producers. And every time I have to treat a sick cow it is stressful for that cow and me. it is also very dangerous to treat a 1000+ animal that doesn’t feel well. Also I have to know when that cow can be sold. That takes us to our next fact.

      Fact #2
      FDA Dose not allow any antibiotic residue. It is illegal for any livestock produce to sell any animal that contains any antibiotic residue. That is also true for the feedlot I sell my animals to, and the packing house they sell to and the retailer you buy from. That is why they test for antibiotic residue. If the meat contains one single trace the meat is rejected and the source is reported to the FDA and that source is charged with a federal crime. (DON’T TAKE MY WORD ON THIS CHECK IT OUT YOURSELF)

      Fact #3
      I am what is called a Cow/Calf producer. That means I have adult mother cows that I feed and breed. I feed those mother cows 365 days a year. They will give birth to a calf only once a year (after 9 mo. gestation).
      When I sell one animal I get about $1000 for that one animal and it cost me about $700 (for feed only) to get that calf to market. If I have to treat that animal it cost my about $50 every time I have to treat it.(That is what my veterinary charges to treat one calf) So you do the math.
      I will only make $300 per year per calf I sell. How many times can I treat that calf until I’m paying to sell it for a loss.

      Fact #4
      In america you enjoy the safest most wholesome food supply in the world.
      We have the largest selection of naturally raised, organic, and modern food supply chain available to you as a consumer to choose from. At the lowest cost. I as a producer hope you choose what’s best for you. That’s how our foo system works best.

      What Subways announcement and others like it (ie. Chipotle Mexican Grill) dose is this.
      It contributes to the false notion that there is something in our food supply or that there is something wrong with it. That just is not true. There are no antibiotic residues in the food supply. And the antibiotic I use in my food animals that I sell are not the same antibiotics that are used for treating human medicine. Nothing I use to treat a suffering calf will ever enter the food supply or cause any antibiotic resistance.

      I hope that you will take the time to check the Facts of everything I have put forth to you and others. And I encourage you and every consumer to make your choice based on the facts and not some misleading statement or announcement made by some company or activist group that is only tiring to scare the public to think that there food is better or that food you eat is bad.

      The choice is yours.

      Be an informed consumer with the facts.( I hope you are)
      or a knee jerk that blindly listens to everything without checking the facts.

      If your the knee jerk you already stopped reading before the first fact.

  116. Pingback: The Antibiotic Argument | WHATS THE BEEF?

  117. You perspective as a farmer is most interesting. At times, it does become lost that responsible use of antibiotics is an important intervention. Great post

  118. Sick Animals by Subway? If it is true, Subway will earn much respect from me. It will arise Subway brand value in common people and mostly in farmers eyes. Great News, Great Post! thanks.

  119. Thornton Leonard Bradford III

    I worked for Cpc livestock for 10 years and I did the same. I checked cattle and docterd the sick. Sometime luck is not with me on certain field or my Fields get hit by a virus and if the bullet was the cure due to subway being aantibiotic free then I would need a semi automatic rifle with a30 round clip. But in most cases depending on this ky weather I do exceptional well. Please feel free to to respond….

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  121. Did Subway offer to pay farmers extra for producing antibiotic free food?.It is possible for farmers to produce food without the use of antibiotics but they will have extra losses.It might be time for more research into how farmers can greatly reduce or cut out antibiotics altogether.Then if there are losses they should not be expected to carry the full cost of them.

    • If you read the posts and the comments form other farmers and cattle producers. We as a matter of standard practice do everything we can do from proper nutrition and low stress handling to reduce and in most case completely eliminate antibiotic use. But when an animal gets sick we are humanly obligated to use everything we have available to end that animals suffering. Sometimes that means antibiotic use is needed. And when I can’t use that, then I only have 1 option.

  122. Amy Smith

    Amen! Well said.

  123. Heather

    We have a local rancher who raises about the same amount of animals you do. He raises some of herd with out antibiotics. He has a herd that satisfies the antibiotic free genre. Those animals that need care tends to but culls them to his regular herd to go to regular sale. No matter how many people get on the antibiotic and vac free bandwagon, there are still going to be people who eat regular beef. It’s not a nessitity for me that I eat organic hormone free beef, but I would rather eat it. I do however only buy hormone and antibiotic free chicken and pork. Now keep in mind that I am not some raging liberal, I am the daughter of a rancher who sells 6 to 700 feeder calves a year. His calves a fed out all winter and pastures on USFS ground in summer. Of course I eat our beef….but for my personal issues I would like to eat organic for the majority of my food.

    • Heather
      I think you are missing the point of this.
      Myself and everyone else in the food chain want to be transparent and open. We also want to provide the most wholesome food for the consumer. While we raise our animals healthy and sustainable.
      When Subway and other food retailers make the statements like this, they are implying that there is something in the food chain that is bad. Just because an animal was treated with antibiotic when it gets sick doesn’t mean that antibiotic is in the meat forever. All antibiotic have a withdraw time. No meat can contain antibiotic when it is harvested.

      Your statement “only buy hormone and antibiotic free chicken and pork”
      That is outstanding and it’s also your choice. And you also pay more for it. Also your choice. You pay more for it because it cost more to raise that animal to harvest. Not because the feed cost more, but because it has to be kept separate from the other animals. Then it has to be harvested separate so it can be labeled different.All of that cost more to produce and you pay for that.Again your choice.

      So when you brake it down.
      Everything that lives and grows has hormones. That is how nature works.
      No hormones= no grow nothing that is organic is hormone free.
      No meat can contain antibiotic when it is harvested.
      So when you go to the meat counter in your local super market EVERYTHING is “antibiotic free”
      EVERYTHING has Hormones in it.
      The only thing diffident is that label. And that is what you pay that extra money for. Again your choice.

      But there is nothing wrong with the meat that cost less.Just remember that not everyone has the extra money to make that choice.

  124. Pingback: The Ethics of “Antibiotic-Free” Meat | The Cow Docs

  125. Wow – 7.8%? That seems high. What sorts of illnesses do they get? I farm beef cattle in Australia and I have used antibiotics on 1 calf in 3 years, he got an infection from castration. Are your cattle feedlotted – hence the need for higher treatments. I agree with you however.

  126. Hank

    I’m sure from your statement that you’ve written about this. In years passed, some animal’s were fed feeds having antibiotics as a preventive for a medical condition that may happen instead of treating a medical condition when it happened. This is where the confusion is and a lot of people don’t know the difference. Unfortunately, those like Subway and many other’s have used this to keep the misinformation going for their benefit.

  127. Erica

    The only true humane way is to not kill them fir food at all…..

  128. Pingback: One part of the problem: Farming Bacteria | Antibiotic Resistance

  129. Nathan Bannister

    Great article. I agree with every point. Thanks for putting this together. Food for thought for those who want to jump on the “feel good” band wagon with little if any understanding of the real issues that you work through every day.

  130. Pingback: Response to Subway Antibiotic Free Meat – Beef Runner

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