Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Brought to you by the letter A for antibiotics

The great part about my city job, (besides a reason to get out of my dirty jeans and boots and put on a little makeup) is that I get to educate the less informed about what we do daily.

Just the other day I had a resident come in to my office, plop down and tell me that he'd be interested in buying a "cow" but only if "he" was completely grass fed with no antibiotics or hormones "stuffed" into him.  Hmmm.... how do I address the many things wrong with that statement. 

I decided to breeze over the obvious elementary problems with his "request" and head straight for the core.

Why was it that he would only consider buying my steer if he was grass fed with no hormones or antibiotics?

"Because I don't want my children growing up and having early onset puberty, being subjected to all the chemicals and hormones that are in the cattle with everything those farmers pump in the cattle to make them gain more weight.. plus the feed those cows are on isn't natural or healthy for any living thing. And (as if that wasn't enough reason) the thought of a cow having to live in those overcrowded lots where they barely have enough room to walk is just inhumane"

... excuse me while I grab my soap box....and find my Zen place....

Antibiotics are a necessity when it comes to having healthy cattle.  Not only do they help treat common ailments in cattle, (i.e. common cold, pink eye, foot rot, pneumonia)  but they also help prevent any sickness that the cattle can contract from the ground, air, and each other.  It is no different from getting the MMR shots when you're a baby and no different from taking a Z-pack for the common cold. ( would you rather us not treat the sick calf at all when it's something that could easily be cured?)  All of these antibiotics are passed through and out of the cattle before they're even allowed to dream about going to the processing plants.  This is highly monitored and regulated by the FDA and the USDA.
And while we're here, we might as well touch on this common misconception.  Why, I ask you, would we fill our cattle with anything that would harm the very way that helps us survive from day to day?  If you ask 99% of the cattle farmers out there they will tell you they pick their very best steers to harvest to feed to their own family.  Any growth hormone that is put into a steer not only is processed and totally washed out of the system before harvest but also contains such insignificant amounts of estrogen that its hardly worth mentioning.   One study I found stated that there are a measly 3.8 NANOGRAMS of estrogen in a 6 oz burger from an implanted steer.  How much is that? Well if a football field is a gram, then each nanogram is one blade of grass.  What's that you say? You want to avoid hormones at all costs?? Do you like coleslaw? There are 2700 nanograms of estrogen in 4 oz of cabbage, 568 nanograms in 1oz of wheat germ and a whopping 35,000 ngs in your birth control pills. 

Bottom line is farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land. We do everything we can to take care of our animals and our land in order to receive optimum output while still maintaining nature's delicate balance.A rancher’s livelihood depends on preserving the environment and having healthy animals that provide a healthy source of protein for you and your family.  To tell someone that you dont want a healthy, well fed, happy cow because you dont want them treated with antibiotics while you drink your diet coke and munch on your nachos... well you sir... you can just go eat a steak.


  1. My favorite post so far. One cup of facts with a teaspoon of humor! Very informative. It does get old listening to the heratics dealing their misinformed rhetoric. Nice to see some reality.

  2. I hear it time and time again, especially downtown. It's not to anyone's discount but just misinformation and laziness to not find out the facts themselves. Thanks, Jumpseat! :)

  3. The sad thing is that people THINK they are doing research and finding the "facts" but in the media and, oftentimes on the internet, only one side of the issue is represented. That's why blogs such as yours are so important. Keep up the good work.