America's pig farmers address Subway

America’s pig farmers address Subway

The nation’s 67,000 pig farmers today placed a full-page, paid advertisement in the Wall Street Journal that addresses Subway Restaurants’ decision concerning antibiotic use in food animals.

Subway, the largest restaurant chain in the U.S. in terms of outlets with 27,000 locations, has announced a 10-year plan to stop serving meat from animals that have been treated with antibiotics.

The ad is directed at Subway management team and franchisee owners and states that Subway’s policy decision “could put our food system in jeopardy.”

“We believe a move to no antibiotics of any kind – Subway’s position – could leave livestock without access to animal health medicines and could result in the unnecessary suffering or death of such animals,” the ad says.

Subway’s announcement goes beyond similar announcements, such as the plan announced by McDonald’s to stop using meat from chickens that have been treated with antibiotics that are used in human medicine. Subway’s intent is to eventually source beef, pork, chicken and turkey exclusively from animals that have never been treated with antibiotics.

Animal antibiotics must be used responsibly to minimize agriculture’s contribution to antibiotic resistance. But much of the current discussion about antibiotic use is highly polarized, pitting commercial interests against public health interests. Preventing disease and treating sick animals through the responsible use of antibiotics is the ethical thing to do.

America’s hog farmers are asking Subway to meet with them to consider a more balanced approach.