In large-scale commercial production, antibiotics are routinely added to feeds, because it has been found that this increases production.

This practice contributes to the widespread resistance to antibiotics being found increasingly in bacteria, which, the World Health Organisation predicts, means that antibiotics will soon cease to be effective. Even USDA has now found sufficient courage to agree that this is so, and prophylactic antibiotics are to be phased out over time, but for now, buying cheap beef means contributing to the loss of this vital weapon from medicine’s arsenal. We therefore do not use prophylactic antibiotics.

While the organic movement bans antibiotic use altogether, we are concerned this blanket-policy approach may be going too far.

We would give an animal antibiotics if it was sick and needed them. Just as we would take antibiotics ourselves if we had tonsillitis, so we would give a cow antibiotics if she had mastitis. We haven’t given our animals antibiotics yet, because they haven’t needed them, but we will if they do.