By Alycia McClure on October 29, 2015
As you may know Subway’s recently has made an announcement that they will no longer be purchasing meat products that have been treated with antibiotics.This is a radical departure from the recent announcements’ from McDonalds and Walmart which supported the responsible use of antimicrobials.
The National Pork Producers Concil and Pork Checkoff programs (www.porcares.com) are two programs dedicated to the responsible and humane treatment of pigs throughout the United States. They represent the farmers raising the animals, and as such have written an open letter to Subway, published in the Wallstreet Journal, from Americas Pig Farmers.
At Cattle Empire, LLC we support all segmants of agriculture and believe everyone has their place. Blatantely attacking a producer that is clearly following federal guidelines is a big NO-NO. We support you, #AmericasPigFarmers.
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Without further adieu...
Dear Subway Management Team and Franchisee Owners:
Any policy decision to eliminate antibiotics from your protein supply sources – poultry, pork and beef – would be a significant departure from what many other food companies are doing in regards to improving responsible antibiotic use. This policy decision could put our food system in jeopardy.
We share the opinion that everyone needs to do their part to use antibiotics responsibly – and reduce the antibiotic resistance threat. This includes quickly phasing out any use of medically important antibiotics (to treat human illness) for growth promotion in farm animals as well as increasing veterinarian oversight, which are actions that farmers and ranchers are already taking.
We believe a move to NO antibiotics of any kind – Subway’s position – could leave livestock without access to animal health medicines and could result in the unnecessary suffering or death of such animals.
Subway is not saying “no” just to those antibiotics used in human medicine. Subway isn’t saying “use antibiotics only when animals are sick.” Subway is saying no antibiotics ever – even when animal health and safety could be at risk. We think that such a policy could compromise the safety of our food system. Sick animals in the food system are not a good idea. Healthy animals help farmers produce safe food.
How will a hog farmer react to a fast-moving disease outbreak that could have been prevented with medicine administered in time? The potential for thousands of animals to unnecessarily die or suffer is a real possibility. These are the consequences that farmers will have to face.
We should all leave open the ability to use antibiotics responsibly when animals are sick or at risk of getting sick. On the best managed ranch or farm, animals can get sick, just as people can get sick in the cleanest and best run households. We believe that insisting on absolutely no antibiotics ignores best practices established by veterinarians, the pork industry and individual farmers who have a direct interest in the welfare of their animals.
Some interest groups may applaud your policy decision. Will those same groups stand with you if large populations of livestock are adversely affected by your new policy?
An opportunity for meaningful input from the national pork industry associations, who represent farmers who care for animals day and night, could have been helpful to you prior to your policy announcement. Our opinion is that these associations could have provided valuable scientific evidence, facts and common sense perspectives that could have helped better inform your policy-making process.
We ask you to meet with us to consider a more balanced approach. We are eager to share with you the pork industry’s commitment to continuous improvement and antibiotic stewardship. We clearly disagree with your policy. Responsible antibiotic use makes sense. Continuous improvement makes sense. Please remain open-minded to the view that banning all antibiotic use is simply not the answer.
We stand ready to engage in a dialogue with you.
America’s Pig Farmers