Concerns about antibiotic resistant infections in the United States have called for reduction of antibiotic use in livestock, including dairy cattle
Concerns about antibiotic resistant infections in the United States have called for reduction of antibiotic use in livestock, including dairy cattle. Although effective in curbing antibiotic use, universal organic dairy farming would be impractical and unattainable due to its high land and premium demands. The US Department of Agriculture’s organic certification, which completely eliminates antibiotic use in milk production, also raises animal welfare concerns, as it could discourage the use of antibiotics even to treat indicated diseases. Therefore, a proposed alternative for US consumers is a label indicating the responsible antibiotic use (RAU) – not complete elimination – that would minimize antibiotics more than conventional (unlabeled) milk and maximize animal welfare more than organic milk.
The results suggest that consumers’ survey-identified preferences for RAU-labeled milk could reflect either social desirability bias or a genuine preference for which, however, consumers simply will not pay a significant premium. The study provides preliminary data for future exploration of marketability of the proposed RAU label in the United States and demonstrates the benefits of using complementary survey and experimental auction approaches to understand the potential market for a new dairy product.
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