Omitting ionophores raises ethical conflicts for veterinarians
Some advocacy groups believe that more restaurants and foodservice companies should follow the lead of Chipotle, Panera and Chick-fil-A. These companies — which only buy chickens raised without any products classified as antibiotics, including ionophores — use this policy as a strategy for marketing to consumers.
Most poultry veterinarians cringe at the notion, however, and think eliminating ionophores on a large scale would jeopardize the sustainability of the industry, as well as the health and welfare of poultry flocks.
As one production veterinarian speaking anonymously at a poultry industry roundtable bluntly put it: “When we choose not to use ionophores, we’re making a decision to let birds die. Let’s be frank about it.”*
* Click here for a copy of the roundtable proceeding.