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Should antibiotics and hormones be used in animal feed?

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Introduction

Biology AS Coursework Skills I and J Should antibiotics and hormones be used in animal feed? Antibiotics are chemicals produced by living organisms that are used to kill or inhibit the growth of other infectious micro-organisms. Most antibiotics prevent the growth of microorganisms, which they act on instead of completely killing them. Antibiotics are extra cellular products meaning that they can be extracted for use; Penicillin is an example of this as it comes from the fungus Penicillium notatum1. Hormones are chemicals that transfer information and instructions between cells in animals and plants. They regulate growth and development, controlling the function of various tissues. Like antibiotics, hormones can be produced and placed in animal feed, for example Bovine Somatotropin, which is given to cows to increases milk production.2 The use of hormones and antibiotics in animal feed has been a controversial topic for many years. There are obvious advantages and disadvantages with the use of such products. Farmers see hormones and antibiotics as a major advantage as the increase their profits and gain the maximum out of their livestock. ...read more.

Middle

Farmers are particularly keen on feeding animals antibiotics for production enhancement, namely to promote growth. Once an animal reaches a certain weight it can be sold to a slaughterhouse. Growth enhancing antibiotics cause the animals to reach this weight at a faster rate. This is highly beneficial as it can increase the profits of the farmer as more animals can be sold every year. As the animals reach the weight requirement faster the cost of breeding of them also decreases. The farmer can now sell more animals at a much lower price. This also can be of benefit to the consumer as the meat comes at a cheaper price. 'For every dollar spent on hormone implants, there are returns of seven to ten dollars to the farmer'. For example, some farmers use rBGH (recombinant growth hormone) to increase their cows' milk output production. There are a variety of other hormones that can be used but they are minly for the purpose of raising their animal's faster and more efficiently thus reducing costs for the consumer3 From the above it can be assumed that the use of antibiotics and hormones in animal feed is a great advantage to the farmers and consumers allowing the production of low expense high quality meat and milk. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is also thought that milk containing rBGH is unsafe to drink as the hormones could be passed on to the consumer. These issues cause many problems for consumers of today and questions must be asked to what is happening to make the products from animals safe to consume and what will happen in the years to come. There is a need to develop a code of practice for use of antibiotics However there is a fear that the introduction of tight regulations will cause harm for animals and encourage illegal distribution. The use of antibiotics should only be permitted if necessary. Some antibiotics are used where animals are kept in areas of poor hygiene where catching disease is easy. If the Farmers spent money on upgrading the conditions instead of buying the antibiotics then we are all at a gain. It is very important to educate farmers of the growing dangers the misuse of these drugs can cause. If the correct measures are taken then the excess use of antibiotics and hormones will not be a growing problem. However, this cannot happen overnight and drastic measures have to be made fast. ...read more.

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