Clearing the Air on Antibiotics and Homesteaders, Smallholders and Consumers
Surprisingly, based on written and verbal responses, most of the readership of Catholic Rural Solutions, brusquely failed to understand fully the ultimate ramifications of my last posting of March 21, 2017 entitled Danger… Smallholder… Danger.
In most cases it is because many of the readers are suburban or even urban dwellers who have little experience with animals but have a genuine interest in such matters. Indeed, some have never even had dogs or cats and experienced the costs associated with the care of these animals. There are many regulatory statues on the local, county, state and federal levels that impose ever increasing fees, to say nothing of feed costs, housing and other requisite costs of keeping livestock. As an example, just to keep a dog in the Northeast the costs of clearing the regulatory hurdles for inoculations required is easily anywhere between $200 – $300 per year depending on local, county and state mandates.
Now consider the smallholder or farmer who sells to the public… he faces much more expensive scrutiny with the resulting immodest fees imposed by varying agencies at all branches and levels of government. This says nothing of incidental cost of doing business. Did you know, for instance, to sell at most farmer’s markets it is necessary to maintain separate liability insurance just to cover sales solely within the farmer’s market? When I originally tried to sell the honey produced by Hunny-Bunny Farm at the local farmer’s market the insurance would have been $300 and that is just for one season/year. Add to that the season for honey production is limited and the majority is produced in the late summer or early fall, say perhaps 3 weeks. Since insurance costs are not pro-rated, that would mean that each bottle of honey sold would have to include the insurance costs spread over the time period of 3 weeks. The farmer’s markets also add fees in the form of table/space rental.
To the above costs let’s consider market demand of only “natural and organic” feeds, (which, despite the labels on the packaging, you can never be certain of). This feed runs, on average, an additional 33% of the ordinary feed costs. So while I buy a 17% protein feed from the Ag store for the rabbits at $16.99 + tax per 50lbs. bag, the cost of buying so-called natural and organic could be anywhere between $23.99 to $29.99, plus tax depending on the retailer. This 50lbs. bag lasts about two weeks.
Another emerging market demand is self-styled “cruelty free” or free-range environments; this means that more land must be freed up to allow roaming to all animals. Needless to say for backyard smallholders this is not an option. Also one man’s definition of free-range, cruelty free is not the same as another. So I predict in future this will also be mandated by the Nanny-State.
To all the above add the newly imposed mandate by the autocratic FDA on the use of medical antibiotics. Now if you have a cow that is sick or a rabbit with a serious injury you cannot treat it yourself on farm, but must consult a veterinarian who most likely will demand, (based on liability) to see the animal personally, regardless of whether that means a road trip to the farm or the transporting of the animal to the vet. It also entails testing and treatment, and maybe even overnight, or longer quarantining and isolation of the infected animal. Such fees can easily be prohibitive, thus forcing many, many smallholders and farmers to cease operations.
As stated in my previous post cited above, I have always been opposed to treatment with antibiotics as a prophylaxis against potential infections. I also oppose antibiotics against every sniffle and sneeze of both humans and animals, (yes, animals do also sniffle and sneeze). However, it is shortsighted and unwise to condemn all use of antibiotics in one broad stroke. Smallholders, farmers and other husbandry men have the most to lose in the treatment of disease and infection. The free use of medicinal antibiotics has never been a problem with smallholders because the care of the livestock is foremost in their thoughts. Sometimes alternative and natural antibiotic means are not sufficient for the situation at hand and recourse to allopathic antibiotic is necessary and prudent. The cost of antibiotics is also another limiting factor, so any use would is subject to prudence.
The Consequence of it All
In consideration of not only all the above, but also my original posting and most importantly the YouTube video cited there in and repeated below for convenience, the overwhelming costs will have a deep impact in the consumer market.
At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy-theorist, (just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you ☺), I believe in view of all the Nanny-State’s past and current attempts at over-regulating smallholders, farmers and homesteaders out of business, they will have a cumulative and detrimental effect on consumer choice. It essentially is collusion, whether willful or not is yet to be seen but likely so, between Big-Ag, Big-Pharma, other mega-corporations and the government to control food production and thus control people. In the end, we the consumers will be required, through lack of choice and onerous legislation, to buy only commercial products laced with hormones, preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, prophylactic antibiotics, GMO’s and other damaging additives.
In conclusion, I urge the readership to suspend what they previously believed about the use of antibiotics and perform due-diligence, first by watching the video, then by reading books, taken from the public library, on animal husbandry and small farming, then by visiting local community type farms and smallholders; understanding their needs and concerns before making sweeping judgements of the right use of antibiotics. This is not to only to see the plight of small farms but more importantly to protect your right, as a consumer, to pure unadulterated food. This is in your own best interest.
Remember to pray the Rosary daily for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as the above and other incremental steps are leading more and more to a catastrophic conclusion.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.