Preventing the need for ‘prevention’
Antimicrobial resistance is a well-documented knock-on effect of the over-use of antibiotics as a prevention method to maintain animal health and performance. But, as the noose around the neck of sub-therapeutic antibiotic use in livestock tightens, with various national and international regulations coming into force, different modes of ‘prevention’ are needed.
As Cat Berge observes in her article 'Antibiotic reduction in animal production', the majority of antibiotics used in animal production are not used to treat sick animals, but are used to treat unhealthy production systems. So what is the industry doing to solve the overuse of antibiotics? Well, a lot actually.
Dedicated to antibiotic reduction, the Antibiotic Reduction special issue explores different areas of animal production that can be optimised. This will lead to better protected animals, which in turn diminishes the need for preventative or sub-therapeutic medicine.
This could be:
- nutritional solutions to prepare the gut for an influx of bacteria
- biosecurity measures that ensure hygiene standards are the highest possible
- housing situations that adhere to the welfare and well-being of the animal
In addition, action plans on antimicrobial resistance, such as those launched by FAO, WHO and the EU are also enabling and motivating countries to provide supportive actions in order to reduce infections and thus the need for antimicrobials. The industry is clearly working together to ensure our production systems are sustainable and healthy.
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