According to the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database (FARAD), “The FDA considers all chickens to be food animals regardless of an owner’s attachment to a particular bird. Accordingly, all regulations pertaining to the treatment of food animals, including the use of prohibited substances, should be followed when treating backyard chickens.” Unfortunately, the FDA and many veterinary professionals see no difference between a chicken living at a sanctuary or as a companion animal and a chicken living within the confines of the animal agriculture system who is destined for exploitation.
This label is not only frustrating to see applied to the individuals we advocate for, but it also limits the treatment options legally available to many species of farmed animals in the United States. There are effective antibiotics, such as Baytril, that were once regularly used at sanctuaries but are no longer permitted for use in chickens. Another popular drug that is affected by FDA regulations is the Suprelorin F implant, which we will discuss later in this course. You may find a veterinarian who is willing to prescribe drugs which are prohibited, but they are taking a risk, and more likely you will be working with a veterinarian who follows the FDA rules and regulations.