There have been some intense conversations happening on social media, so we thought it’d be good to share our philosophy on the subject, for both engagement and transparency.
Currently, there are two major types of vaccines most widely used in cattle in the United States. They are modified-live vaccines (MLV) and killed or inactivated vaccines. Modified-live vaccines contain weakened forms of the virus or bacteria, while killed or inactivated vaccines contain dead virus or bacteria. Both types of vaccines can be effective in preventing diseases in cattle, and the choice of vaccine type depends on the specific disease being targeted and other factors such as age, pregnancy status, and overall health of the cattle. Cattle health and welfare is of upmost importance. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, in that we utilize safe and effective tools to keep them healthy and thriving.
mRNA technology has been of interest for a while now (30 years in humans and the past 10-15 in animals) with specific antigens. In fact, the first experimental use in cattle was with respiratory coronavirus, pre-dating the COVID pandemic by nearly a decade. Post-COVID, the government now has a more vested interest in this technology and grant funds have been awarded to research them. Currently, there are no vaccines commercially available in the cattle industry using mRNA technology. There may be autogenous use of the technology for specific antigens, and experimental use by researchers, but the bottom line is it’s not commercially approved and we are not using it in our cattle.
So what do we know about the science surrounding mRNA vaccines?
mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine that work by using a small piece of genetic material called messenger RNA (mRNA) to instruct cells to produce a protein that triggers an immune response. The technology behind mRNA vaccines allows for a rapid response to new diseases. Scientists can quickly design and manufacture mRNA vaccines for new viruses or variants, which can be especially important during a pandemic.
What happens when mRNA vaccines are administered?
The mRNA is introduced into the cells and the cell translates the mRNA into proteins and the mRNA is degraded. This construction of the protein based on the plan in the mRNA takes place outside the nucleus, so the mRNA does not come into contact with the DNA and can’t become a permanent part of the cells. Put simply, it doesn’t alter an animals DNA and it would not alter ours.
Another thing to keep in mind is that all livestock vaccines do have a withdrawal time (time from when the product is given to when an animal could be safely harvested for food) no matter how they are made to help keep us and our food safe. Additionally, when we considering our health protocols, consulting with our veterinarian to determine the best strategy for a particular herd is essential.
The long and short of it is you can rely on us to be on the top of our game when it comes to not only the health and safety of our animals, but also when it comes to the wellbeing of everyone who buys from us. We eat our beef everyday out here at our ranch, and we’re proud to provide safe and nutritious food that is eaten all over the country.
Kara & Jeff