ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Antibiotic Injections for Cows

Updated on May 27, 2018
Pamela99 profile image

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession, and I enjoy writing about medical issues. I'm also interested in history, genealogy, and travel.

FDA Report

For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration released a report on antibiotic use in factory farms. The total number given is at nearly 80% of all the antibiotics used in the country, some 29,000,000 pounds of drugs were given to livestock in 2009. They are primarily used to prevent illness, rather than treat it.

It was once common practice to treat infected animals with appropriate medications, it is now an industry standard to load these animals full of antibiotics before any disease sets in, as a preventative measure. That is a similar action to your mother giving you penicillin each day before school to prevent an infection.

As of April, 2012, the FDA now states a veterinarian must write a prescription for antibiotics, which is an attempt to remedy this problem. The only assurance you really have that the meat is free of antibiotics is to buy organic meat that is stamped with the government seal.

Antibiotics are suppose to be given to sick cows, and the following antibiotics are commonly used: penicillin, tetracycline, ceftiofur, florfenicol, tilmicosin, enrofloxacin, and tulathromycin.

Antibiotics Given to Cattle

source commons wickimedia
source commons wickimedia

Farmers Giving Antibiotics

Farmers have used antibiotics for decades, even in healthy animals, to promote faster growth and prevent disease that could sicken livestock held in confined quarters. The farmers give lower doses to healthy animals and higher doses of antibiotics to sick animals. The benefit: is cheaper, more plentiful meat for consumers.

However, a dispute has erupted over a federal proposal, which recommends antibiotics only when animals are actually sick. Public health experts in recent years say overuse and misuse of antibiotics poses serious public health threats by creating new strains of bacteria that are difficult to treat in both animals and humans.

Roast Beef Sliced


Meat Industry Beliefs

The meat industry argues that the draft guidelines from the FDA are premature. They believe there's not enough evidence to show a clear link between use of antibiotics in livestock and health problems in humans.

The Congressional relations director for the American Farm Bureau is Kelli Ludlum. He stated," what the FDA is doing, trying to restrict the use of antibiotics and require additional veterinary oversight, goes beyond where the science, their own science has gone." In the video below you will see the meat industry's opinion.

Why are antibiotics used in livestock production

Medical and Public Health Opinions

This past summer, the FDA issued draft guidelines, which recommended using antibiotics only in acute medical situations and under the supervision of a veterinarian. The guidelines state there is a clear risk to human health, are only recommendations but a first step toward possible regulations to limit the use of antibiotics in the United States.

The medical community is unhappy with the FDA recommendations stating, they are weak and voluntary. After decades of study the FDA should just issue appropriate regulations.

Medical and public health experts say the antibiotic issue has been studied in United States, Canada, Europe and other countries for 40 years. The studies led to the European Union issuing rules more than 10 years ago limiting the use of antibiotics in livestock. Europe adopted even more stringent guidelines in 2006.

Chicken to Roast


Fear of Infection

Many are paying attention to the bacteria that could be developing on farms because of the overuse of antibiotics and then, resulting in infections in humans. It is worth repeating that the more we are exposed to antibiotics, they more resistant bacterias that may develop. They do affect the meat, eggs and dairy products we buy; the less effective those drugs will be when we really need them.

On farms they already have difficulty in treating strains of E. Coli and salmonella, which has evolved in recent years.

Denmark Study

CDC director Thomas R. Frieden wrote that "there is compelling evidence of a clear link between antibiotic use in animals and antibiotic resistance in humans." Tom Chiller, a CDC medical director, stated this: "Scientists have documented studies and data that show when you use antibiotics in animals, it creates resistant bacteria."

Studies show that the resistant bacteria survive on retail meats. The best evidence we have for the link between animals and humans is a study from Denmark. In the study, a growth – "promoting antibiotic was used only in animals and not humans. The animals developed a resistant bacteria that went through the meat supply and showed up causing human infection." Despite this evidence the meat industry remains skeptical of such studies, which do not clearly identify animals as the source of antibiotic resistance in humans.

Antibiotic-free Animals

In Conclusion

I certainly hope the the new FDC guidelines will establish firm guidelines to stop the farmers from giving antibiotics to well animals. We already know that giving human beings too many antibiotics have caused super-bugs to grow that are difficult to treat. At least meat is marked today if it is free of antibiotics.

Europe is 10 years ahead of us in stopping the antibiotic use. The Denmark's study is proof that antibiotics should be used only in sick animals. For your health, if you eat meat the safest buy is organic meat and free range chicken.

The problem is organic meat is a little bit pricey for some people. It is better to have some meatless meals during the week and fish, than the organic meat becomes more affordable.

The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    SilverGenes, I feel the same way. Genetic engineering sounds a little scary. Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your comments.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    You really brought out some excellent points, Pamela. Going meatless sounds better and better with everything I read or see, like Food Inc. That cloning business that creates meat in a lab would take care of the antibiotic issue but opens a whole other level of 'eewww' for me!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hyphenbird, I can understand your feelings. I am almost ready to make the move as I have cut back on meat and just eat fish and chicken now. I agree with you that the animals must feel awful and that disease in America must be considered. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • Hyphenbird profile image

    Brenda Barnes 

    8 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Hello Pamela. Every day I become more thrilled to be a vegan. Reading something like this makes me feel sick. The poor animals must feel awful and all of that contaminates their flesh and I believe makes humans sick when we consume it. The shocking rate of illness and disease in Americans should wake us up to the fact that something is wrong. Thank you for this great article.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    moonlake, I love chicken also. I wonder about much of the food we eat anymore. Thanks for stopping by and for your comments.

  • moonlake profile image


    8 years ago from America

    I don't eat much beef but I love chicken. I have always worried about what was in it. My sister works at a chicken factory and she said if I knew everything I wouldn't eat it at all. There's always something wrong with our seafood and fresh fish. Taking worms out of fish and than selling it makes me sick but they do it. Pretty soon we will all be thin because we won't want to eat anything. Great hub. Voted uP!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Rosemary, I appreciate you stopping by and reading the hub. I will do a little research to see if there have been any recent changes, but it hasn't been too long since I read these same facts. It is scary to not know what is going into our food. I also wonder about this genetic engineered food. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview and I appreciate your comments.

  • Rosemay50 profile image

    Rosemary Sadler 

    8 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

    Hi Pam. You wrote this almost 2 years ago, it would be interesting to know if there has been any change in that time.

    It is getting quite scary when we actually find just what is going into our food.

    I enjoyed your interview BTW

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    MysteryPlanet, I fear you are right. I very much appreciate your comments.

  • MysteryPlanet profile image


    9 years ago

    I truly believe that in the near future we will be facing nightmares with disease control because of our constant abuse and misuse of antibiotics. VERY informative hub you have here. Voted up and rated

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Chris, I'm glad to see you back. This is a serious situation and I appreciate your comment.

  • carolina muscle profile image

    carolina muscle 

    9 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    Yes, this is really getting to be serious.. fine post!!!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hello, I hate it but I think you're exactly right. It's really very frustrating. Thanks for your comments.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    9 years ago from London, UK

    Do they do ever anything right apart from grabbing money? Even with new guidelines, they always find a backdoor.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Audrey, That is really frightening. The FDA is supposed to protect protect us I really hate it they are genetically engineering anything and especially salmon as it so good for you.I appreciate your comments.

    Oceansnsunsets, I think people in groups are going to have to start complaining about livestock receiving antibiotics and other drugs. I've read that chickens get estrogen and it is possible that is the reason we see very young girls well-developed something that wasn't like that a generation ago. I appreciate your comments.

    Anginwu, Yes, I agree with you. My family likes to eat some meat but I eat almost none. This is something we have to be concerned about. Thanks so much for your comments

  • anglnwu profile image


    9 years ago

    Scary to think what farmers will do to protect their livestock at the expense of the larger picture. Enlightening information for consumers, definitely. Rated up.

  • oceansnsunsets profile image


    9 years ago from The Midwest, USA

    Pamela, I hope the use of these drugs lessens over time. We need to stop over medicating, and I am sure that more awareness like an article like this can only help matters, so thank you for sharing it! Well written and informative.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    9 years ago from Washington

    It's not just the farmers though - I read an article recently about genetically engineered salmon - will do a hub on it one day soon. It's ridiculous - oh let's just negate the fact that this percent are deformed? The FDA just passes it through. That is the frightening part for me as a consumer - what am I eating?

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    prasetio, Maybe the situation is different in Indonesia. I hope so. I appreciate your comments so much. God Bless you too.

    Audry, I think the farmers must have a lot of pull with the FDA or why would that happen? Thanks for your comments.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    9 years ago from Washington

    Great stuff Pamela and all too much that we do with our food chain that is so stupid. I've been reading about all kinds of things the FDA just happens to 'conveniently overlook' in their studies such as excluding bad results, etc. I swear it makes no sense to me - that old saying 'you are what you eat' - apparently the FDA hasn't heard of this!

  • prasetio30 profile image


    9 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Good morning (Indonesia time), Pamela. You give us valuable information. I liked your presentation. You describe this very well. Thanks for writing this, my dear friend. Vote up. God bless you.


  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Sam, a vegan diet is a good healthy diet and after reading this hub I imagine you are very glad that you made that change. Thanks for the comments.

    Fuchsia, I also believe we are at risk. I've changed a vegetarian diet but not big and diet as of yet. I did try vegan diet for six weeks and felt great but I don't like tofu which made it difficult. Thanks for your comment.

    JY, It really is. I appreciate your comments.

  • JY3502 profile image

    John Young 

    9 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

    Scary stuff Pam! Good, useful hub.

  • fucsia profile image


    9 years ago

    This is one reason why I chose a vegan diet. The available data show only a small part of the problem. Our public health is severely at risk ... And what about our social morality?

    The argument is very important, we must not underestimate it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sam9999 profile image


    9 years ago

    I remember now why I opted for a vegan diet. Very interesting hub.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    cardelean, it sounds like you've made the same changes that I've made in our family. I appreciate your comments.

    rpalilus, I sure hope our country jumps on board also as the proof certainly seems to be available in Europe. I very much appreciate your comment.

  • rpalulis profile image


    9 years ago from NY

    Excellent hub Pamela, I can't wait to share this one. Anti bacterial resistance is becoming more and more of a problem, I do hope our country will jump on board as some of these other countries have already.

    Again- Excellent and thanks for sharing this.

  • cardelean profile image


    9 years ago from Michigan

    Great hub! Voted up and useful. I saw Food Inc. a few years ago and that really put things in perspective. Even my meat with a side of meat eating husband thought it was pretty gross. I have since tried to cut back on the amount of meat we eat using the exact techiniques you talked about, more seafood and free range/organic. You are right though, it gets to be very expensive and sometimes is hard to find. Thanks for the info.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Om Paramapoonya, yes I do like the idea either. Thanks so much for your comments.

    Darski, I know I hate to even think about the way they treat livestock. I seldom eat meat anymore and I'm trying to go vegetarian. I appreciate your comments. Peace and love to you.

  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 

    9 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    Hello my dear friend, the more I see, read and know about livestock the less I can eat it, I gag when I try to eat me, we are such a primitive people, they way we treat live stock. rate this way up great hub love you darlin, peace & love darskki

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 

    9 years ago

    Scary stuff! I guess I'll buy organic meat and cook vegetarian food more often. Thanks for sharing this, Pamela.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Mentalist Acer, I agree with you and that's why I wrote this hub. I know they also give chicken estrogen which can't be healthy for anyone. Thanks so much for your comment.

  • Mentalist acer profile image

    Mentalist acer 

    9 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

    Using anti-biotics to grow larger cattle is illogical to say the least,thanks for sharing this concern Pamela.;)

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    drbj, We have always eaten meat in moderation but after reading the statistics I'm very concerned also. I appreciate your comment.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    9 years ago from south Florida

    I enjoy a good steak once in awhile, but this very well-written information is worrisome, Pamela.

    Too much of anything, especially antibiotics in one form or another, is not a good thing.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)