I am a huge fan of Thom's and listen regularly. I just caught the end of a conversation about a new ruling that requires livestock producers to get a prescription before administering antibiotics to their animals.
From a consumer viewpoint, I welcome any movement towards ending the horrendous conditions in meat production that results in Ecoli and the extreme over-use and abuse of antibiotics in food animals. However, as a very, very small farmer that raises just a few animals at a time by hand, I am often disheartened by the blunt instruments used to achieve rational goals. I have antibiotics in my fridge and when a goat cuts her leg or a sheep start coughing, I will dose them, conservatively, to save their health and preserve the health of the herd or flock.
This maybe takes place a few times a year. Not routinely. But, I can state emphatically that the margins of a tiny farm like mine are very thin indeed and if I have to call a vet to come out ($80 "housecall fee" before she steps out of the truck), I simply could no longer raise the 3-6 lambs and 6 pigs a year I raise and sell to friends and family. Not to mention, the vet can't always come. It's simply a fact bourn out by myself and every farmer I know that small farmers can exist only if they can take care of the majority of the medical emergencies that arise.
Even with Michael Pollan and the localvore movement seemingly epidemic, I am constatnly amazed at the invisibility of the small and micro farmer. Rather than sweeping regulations that will drive farms like ours under and very possibly be "worked around" by the big producers, we need regulatory support and effective incentives that grow small farms and increase consumer access to responsibly-grown produce and animal products and make factory farming cost prohibitive.
My 2 cents.