Ghent University: Web app to measure antibiotic usage in pig farms

06-06-2011 | |

Belgium’s Ghent University launched a new web application allowing livestock producers and veterinarians to measure levels of antibiotic usage on the farms – and how to compare this to peers, Flemish agricultural website Vilt reports.

The new web application, called ABcheck, will contain a wide range of background information about antibiotic use and antibioitic resistance in animals.
Professor Jeroen Dewulf commented, “Using these data, it is possible to advise producers and veterinarians about a rational and reduced use of antibioitics.” Dewulf constructed the application in cooperation with researchers Davy Persoons and Merel Postma.
At the moment, data around usage of antibiotics are only sparsely available. Nevertheless, the use of antibioitics is widely discussed as both in humans and in livestock, resistance to antibiotics is being observed to grow. Dewulf said, “This is mainly relevant for pathogens in the animals, but it may also apply to humans as resistant pathogens or their genes may be transferred from animals to humans.”
Especially in Europe, it is feared that decreasing amounts of antibiotics will be available that can adequately treat humans and animals. Hence, the reduction of the use of antibiotics and a prudent use of available products is considered extremely important in both animals as humans. The researchers commented, “With this tool, we’d like to provide the opportunity to everyone who is interested, to anonymously quantify, qualify and compare usage with other livestock production sites.”
The website fits into a project which is called ‘Reduction of antibiotic usage’. Experts analyse farm problems in pig and poultry facilities and can thus give very specific advices. Dewulf said, “On the one hand we’d like to step up any farm’s health, biosecurity and production levels, and on the other the usage of antibiotics will be less needed.”
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