Friday, April 16, 2010

Elanco Animal Health Aiding Animal Welfare

There is so much talk these days about animal welfare vs. animal rights. It is important that we, as the agriculture community, realize the difference. It is imperative to the future of agriculture that we continue to use practices that aid the welfare of our animals. I believe that agriculturalists were the original environmentalists and that livestock producers were the original animal welfare advocates. You see until you rely on the land to make a livelihood, you cannot be fully passionate about taking care of it, its productivity and maintaining the land's integrity. Just as until you rely on livestock for a livelihood, you don't realize how important it is to care for animals, keep them comfortable and healthy. Agriculturalists are stewards of the land and the animals. They care for them with passion and enthusiasm. I want to share with you a story of an animal pharmaceutical company doing what I believe to be aiding animal welfare.

Yesterday in my stocker and feedlot cattle production class we went on a field trip. We had the opportunity to learn from a vet, a banker and a feedlot manager. While talking to vet he informed us of a new product that hit the market last week.

Elanco Animal Health makes an antibiotic called Micotil. Micotil has been around for years and is very affective as both a sub therapeutic antibiotic and a therapeutic antibiotic. Metaphilactic treatment (mass medication) of calves during the backgrounding phase is very common in the industry. This helps to prevent cattle from becoming sick and helps them to grow during the backgrounding phase. Micotil is the antibiotic of choice for the producer that we visited with. The thing about Micotil is that it can be harmful to humans. Fatal in fact. You definitely don't want to inject yourself with it. This has caused many large operations to shy away from using Micotil because of the liability risk involved with corporate workers using this drug in the corporate stocker calve setting. Elanco Animal Health has done something to change this and to ensure that cattle are being administered the medication properly.

Last week Elanco released a new syringe on the market. This syringe is very unique. It has a guard over the needle with little projections. This needle guard has two purposes. The first is that it makes it more difficult to stick yourself with the needle while administering the shot. Maybe more importantly, to be able to administer antibiotic through this syringe, the guard tents the skin so that the antibiotic is administered subcutaneously. Micotil is recommended to be given sub-q (or under the skin). This can be difficult to do in a hurry and if not careful some of the antibiotic can be deposited in the muscle (which creates grissle in the meat) however with this new syringe the animal receives the antibiotic in the proper manner, and the person giving the shot is protected. Additional protection is granted to the person giving the shot due to the dual triggers that allow the shot only to be given after both triggers have been pulled properly. Animal health companies like Elanco understand the importance of animal welfare and are actively creating ways to better care for animals, just like the new Micotil syringe.

Animal welfare not only means ensuring animals are comfortable, but also means that we are doing our part to keep them healthy, Elanco Animal Health and other animal pharmaceutical companies understand that and work hard to ensure food safety from the pasture to the plate.

For more information about this new syringe and Micotil check out

Happy Trails ~ Anna-Lisa

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