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We identify a number of different approaches to using antibiotics in livestock farming, systematic preventative dosing and reduced, reactionary dosing , cautious reactionary dosing , and status based avoidance. Systematic preventative dosing Some operations have taken to using antibiotics systematically as the preventative control of disease. This is where at difficult points in an animals life, such as at times of weaning, before being moved to a different farm, or in the winter, whole groups of animals will be dosed with antibiotics. This can work to quite effectively stop an outbreak before it even starts and so stop it spreading to other animals. This seems to be a bit of a cover-up method, however, to allow the farm to get away with bad conditions that are likely to make animals ill in the first place. Some systems may do this once in a life others may do it more often. There is a range, some cattle operations will do it as many as 5 times in the life of a cow others will do it as few a 1, the average is around twice.
Reactionary dosing, other operations use antibiotics in a reactionary wa . They will only give antibiotics to animals once they have started to show signs of disease. Obviously the amount of antibiotics, and frequency of use, will vary in different instances.
Cautious reactionary dosing. Some producers believe more firmly, and take more steps towards, avoiding antibiotic use. They do this by saving it’s use only for more extreme cases, such as a particularly aggressive disease or to stop an outbreak of a particularly infectious one.
Avoidance with accreditation. Others put their standards so high as to ban antibiotic use of livestock altogether. Therefore relying only on more natural disease control and prevention including culling animals. The United States Department of agriculture organic standards, for one, prohibits any use of antibiotic.