USDA REPORT EXAMINES DRUG BAN EFFECTS
A new report from USDA's Economic Research Service takes a look at the use of low-level anti-microbial drugs in livestock feed. Several countries prohibit the practice of incorporating LLADs in livestock feed. The United States has considered partial bans as precautionary measures against the spread of resistant pathogens from animals to humans or vice versa.
If such drugs are banned, the article says, livestock production costs increase, because feed costs rise due to reduced feed efficiency, lower growth rates, and increased management and labor requirements. Regulation of LLADs in livestock production would increase costs for producers previously using drugs and reduce meat supplies in the short run.
Producers not previously using drugs would benefit from the shortrun price increases that would accompany reduced supplies. Under a ban, all livestock species would face similar economic effects, with some livestock sectors being affected more than others. The effects on livestock sectors also depend on consumer responses to the change in the prices of meats, although any change in meat consumption is estimated to be small, according to the report.
For the entire report, go to http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/erselsewhere/eejs0304/eejs0304.pdf.