RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The Virginia Farm Bureau formulates policy based on the notion that farm animals are not pets but ultimately farm products. A spokesperson for PETA claims the American public as a whole disagrees.
It's a heated debate over livestock legislation: a bill that would ban using antibiotics on animals that aren't sick. Farmers aren't happy about the idea--while animal activists are thrilled.
"Antibiotics and medicine in farm animals is something that farmers use to produce a healthy food supply. If farmers aren't able to use those resources to work with vets to produce healthy animals, then your food security is really going to be in jeopardy," said Lindsay Reames with the VA Farm Bureau.
"From an animal welfare stand point the reason that it's important is that it would hold people who raise animals for food at a higher standard. If they stop being able to drug perfectly healthy animals, they'll have to treat them a little bit better," said Bruce Friedrich with PETA.
Reames says farmers already treat their animals well. She feels that animal rights groups use people's emotions about their pets to mislead the public about livestock.
"The general public should know that farmers care for their animals; they have an ethical obligation to take care of them, it's in their best interest. If they don't care for those animals and raise those animals in a way that produces a safe food supply, then they are going to go out of business," Reames said.
PETA claims the American public does not distinguish between pets and livestock when it comes to the law.
"The American people don't see animals as farm products. They recognize that whether you are talking about a dog or a cat, or a chicken or a pig, these are individuals and have a capacity to feel pain. The way that they are treated on these factory farms, it's unconscionable," Friedrich said.
Representatives from both the farm bureau and PETA say they hope you'll do the research on both sides of this issue and decide for yourself what's right.