If you think that acupuncture is only fit for humans, think again. An organic farm in Sorens, Switzerland, plans to replace antibiotics with the ancient Chinese form of healing to keep its cows healthy.
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Why does it matter? If cows can be successfully treated with acupuncture instead of antibiotics and steroids, this could help decrease antimicrobial resistance in humans. And really, who wants a burger with a side of penicillin?
According to Swiss news network The Local, Australian animal acupuncture specialist Lena Jürgensen will travel to the Sorens farm in May to teach the alternative medicine to Swiss farmers. The project, which aims to reduce the antibiotics used in dairy production, is being conducted in collaboration with veterinarians from the University of Bern.
U.S. veterinarian Tim Holt discovered the benefits of bovine acupuncture nearly two decades ago. In 2013, Beef Magazine spoke to Holt, who swears by animal acupuncture as a helpful healing tool. “About 15 years ago, with speculation, I took a two-week acupuncture course to see what it was. After that course I began using the practice on animals and realized the success was quite drastic. I got addicted,” he said.
Looking for alternatives to antibiotics is an ongoing area of research in the agriculture industry. Still, beef and dairy producers continue to pump their cattle with antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and rBGH (growth hormone). Just last year, dairy cows in Michigan that were being slaughtered for meat tested positive for antibiotics at 5.4 parts per million, which is more than 13 times the maximum allowed by the FDA.
Erin has made telling stories about food her profession. You can find those stories in Food & Wine, LA Weekly, Serious Eats, KCET, Robb Report and First We Feast.
What Do YOU Think?
Are you concerned about the presence of antibiotics in your meat? Will acupuncture be a viable alternative to antibiotics and hormones in cows? Do you know of other antibiotic alternatives that help keep livestock healthy? Share your thoughts below!