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Will antibiotic-free trend make US broiler producers less competitive?

The cascade of food service outlet pledges to purchase only chicken from flocks that have been raised without antibiotics is causing a major shift in how broilers are raised in the US, according to a report by WattAgNet.com.

“In my opinion, it (raised without antibiotics broiler production in the US) won’t work without ionophores,” Steve Davis, DVM, Colorado Quality Research, told the audience at USPOULTRY’s Live Production & Welfare Seminar, in Nashville, TN. WATTAgnet_globe

The problem, he explained, is that some antibiotic-free husbandry programs being mandated by customers are calling for “no antibiotics ever” and exclude the use of ionophores, a class of coccidiostats that also have antibacterial properties.

“I fear this will make the US broiler industry noncompetitive in the world market,” Davis told the group.

Antibiotic-free broiler production could be an “industry killer” for the US, according to Davis, and he questioned if it was sustainable.

As a veterinarian, Davis said he finds that no antibiotics ever and raised without antibiotics growing programs are troubling. They are “not best for the chickens and not best for the chicken companies,” he said.

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