Pros and Cons of Antibiotic Free Poultry Production - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Pros and Cons of Antibiotic Free Poultry Production

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Chicken in local poultry house. (Photo: WBOC) Chicken in local poultry house. (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md. - Perdue announced last month that the company had gone completely antibiotic free in its poultry production.  Thursday morning, The Dr. OZ show visited the poultry giant in Salisbury to highlight the company's transition to antibiotic free.  WBOC also spoke with a local poultry specialist about the pros and cons of antibiotic free poultry production.

According to Dr. Jonathan Moyle, a poultry specialist for the University of Maryland Extension in Wicomico County, the use of antibiotics in poultry houses across Delmarva is on the decline.  Moyle said now, when antibiotics are used, it's for good reason.

"We're seeing a reduction.  It used to be that you wold see a lot of antibiotics used for growth promotes but companies have kind of gone away from that lately.  Typically, most antibiotics are being used to prevent disease.  We use them at certain stages of life when we know that they're going to get sick, or typically get sick.  So, we use them as a preventative measure," Moyle said.

Dr. Moyle said there is a high market for antibiotic free birds and consumers are willing to pay the extra price.  And while the market existing is an advantage for poultry producers, there can be drawbacks to being antibiotic free for any chicken company.

"We do typically see a little bit higher mortality in our antibiotic production as we do in other types of systems," said Moyle.

Time will tell if other poultry companies follow in the footsteps of Perdue.

"It depends on their vendors," Dr. Moyle said.  "It depends on who's buying their products.  We're seeing a lot of companies going this way."

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