Antibiotic resistance in livestock – strategies and best practice-examples are existing – As always, it is all about accepting positive suggestions and adapting them!

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“Many farmers do not know that antibiotics are mixed with the food”, said Dr. Elisabeth Erlacher-Vindel from the World organization of animal health (OIE) last week in Vienna on a symposium, organized by the ministry of health et al. in the course of the European Antibiotic Awareness Week (Antibiotic use in livestock was one of the main topics).
My immediate reaction was: “It just cannot be true!” Unfortunately, other statements of this type followed. For example, I learned that antibiotics are still used as animal growth promoters in some countries.
But after a series of depressing facts, I became more confident. Dr. Erlacher-Vindel presented the OIE-strategy for antibiotic resistance, which was published exactly one year ago (Nov. 2016). Aligned with the WHO Global Action Plan the strategy recognizes the importance of the “One Health” approach involving human and animal health. The OIE already launched the first annual data collection in OIE member countries on the use of antimicrobial agents in animals and the template is designed to be able to be completed by all countries, regardless of the national data collection system currently in place.
Valuable initiatives in connection with Antibiotic use in livestock were not only presented from worldwide organisations and scientists, but also from practitioners – for example Dr. Wolfgang Schafzahl (Styria, Austria), who held a lecture about antibiotic-free pig feeding: “We just need healthy piglets – they have enough resistance to infection diseases.”
For me the conclusion of the event was: Great strategies and best practice-examples are existing – As always, it is about accepting positive suggestions and adapting them.

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Carola Timmel is journalist for print and radio and professional speaker. Her focus lies on the topic Medicine & Health.

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