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Animal Nutrition Views

Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., gives his views on poultry, pig and dairy nutrition based on his experience as a nutrition consultant with clients around the world.
Poultry Nutrition / Pig Nutrition / Dairy Cattle / Ruminant Health & Nutrition / Antibiotic-Free Meat / Livestock Feed Manufacturing / Animal Feed Additives / Animal Feed Safety

Misinformation is the enemy of animal feed additives

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Antibiotics, zinc oxide and copper in animal feeds have all fallen victim to the phenomenon of misinformation.

September 13, 2016

Once upon a time, antibiotics reigned. They were inexpensive and efficient. Everybody used them, and animals thrived.

Then someone read a report about antibiotic resistance in humans and looked up antibiotic usage. It did not take long to decide animals were consuming the most antibiotics, so they should be held responsible for resistance. This is true, and it would have worked if similar measures were taken to control antibiotic usage in humans. As it stands, resistance in humans has not been affected, whereas animals have been deprived of a very useful tool that kept them healthy and growing in commercial conditions.

How would you like that happening to your own additive?

I strongly believe in the need to control antibiotic usage. I do not believe in completely banning them.

I strongly believe in the need to control antibiotic usage. I do not believe in completely banning them, but I understand where those who took the decision came from. And I am sure had these people been properly informed beforehand they would have not taken a negative stance against antibiotics — they would have focused against the unreasonable use of antibiotics, but I digress.

Who can guarantee other additives will not follow suit? But wait, this has already happened. Zinc oxide has fallen victim to the same phenomenon of misinformation. Yes, we should control use of zinc in animal feeds because chlorosis is a serious problem. But this should focus on growing-finishing pigs that consume the majority of feed and not on young pigs that consume a minor quantity, albeit rich in zinc. It is the total zinc spread on soil and not zinc in feed that needs to be regulated! I hear the same approach is taken against copper nowadays.

Are you sure your additive is not only effective, but also harmless?

So, are you sure your additive is not only effective, but also harmless? And is it harmless against humans, good bacteria, the environment and animals? Is it natural, and if yes, does it upset the balance in the universe? Above all, have you told anybody else, like the people who listen to your competitors?

I cannot but finish with a quote from one of my favorite professors: be aware of the misinformed!

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