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California ranchers will need vet's prescription to use livestock antibiotics

Flickr Creative Commons/stijn-te-strake-316914

Starting in January, California ranchers will need a prescription from a veterinarian to administer antibiotics to cattle, sheep and other livestock.  

University of California farm advisor Dan Macon works with ranchers on livestock production in the Sierra foothills. He notes the law doesn't require a vet to be on site for each animal that needs treatment. But there will need to be a "veterinary-client-patient relationship."

"Where the vet knows the operation, knows the rancher and has some idea of the types of animals and types of issues the rancher may be dealing with," Macon said. "And so it does require some semi-annual check in with the vet at the ranch."

Macon says food animal vets are increasingly rare. He says the new law could pose a challenge for California livestock ranchers in places where vets are few and far between.