As a commitment to animal welfare, our farmers take caring for sick birds very seriously. Prevention is always preferred over treatment, but sometimes despite our best effort birds may become sick. In these circumstances farmers need to use antibiotics to treat disease and illness and prevent suffering.
Turkey Farmers of Canada have an antimicrobial strategy for antibiotic use that all licensed turkey farmers must follow. It carefully outlines the conditions under which antibiotics can be used and the types of antibiotics that can be administered. The goal is to prevent antibiotic resistance, or the ability of bacteria to resist antibiotics which has become a problem through overuse, or using antibiotics when it isn’t necessary.
If birds get sick, the farmer must consult with their veterinarian as to how the illness should be treated and how best to control the spread of illness within the flock. In fact, farmers are required to work with veterinarians to determine appropriate and safe plans for giving birds antibiotics based on the particular situation.
If medication is necessary to treat disease or illness and prevent suffering, a strict withdrawal period is required before any bird can be marketed to make certain there are no medication residues in the final product.