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Defining, and demonstrating, sustainability in the poultry industry

Billy Hargis, PhD, University of Arkansas, thinks the US poultry industry has already set high standards for sustainability, but its efforts are largely misunderstood and unappreciated.

“I’m troubled by movements that are so-called sustainable where they actually increase the environmental footprint,” he says, citing higher mortality rates and inefficiencies associated with free-range and organic poultry operations.

Hargis also expressed concern about veterinarians losing their ability to prescribe antibiotics for sick birds and animals.

“There’s an ethical issue for a veterinarian to not treat an animal when legal medication is available to treat a sick animal.  To watch the these animals suffer and die from lack of access to available and legal drugs that are safe and effective, it’s difficult to watch for me.”

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