Race to zero use of Antibiotics policy may not be sustainable. Adopt Strategy to Replace- Reduce and Refine to preserve the efficacy of Antibiotics which are critically important.

Antimicrobial agents are medicines used to treat infections, particularly bacterial infections. These medicines are essential protect human and animal health, as well as animal welfare. Excessive or inappropriate use can lead to the emergence of resistant bacteria which do not respond to antibiotic treatment, as seen in recent decades. This phenomenon, called antimicrobial resistance (AMR), poses a threat to disease control throughout the world. For this reason, AMR is a global concern. 

In poultry production Antibiotics are needed by poultry farmers to treat infections when necessary, to maintain the health and welfare of flocks.The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections now being experienced in poultry farming across most countries threatens the future of all poultry production. Urgent action is needed by poultry producers and poultry veterinarians to preserve the efficacy of those antibiotics which are critically important for the health and welfare of poultry flocks, and for human health.   

Putting in place some fundamental best practices in all stages of poultry production will improve bird health and welfare, and flock productivity, and will reduce the need to medicate with antibiotics.  However, this is not a race to zero use of all antibiotics. Such a policy would not be sustainable as farmers and veterinarians have a duty of care to prevent pain and suffering in the birds under their management which may entail treatment of infections if they occur. 

Poultry producers can adopt the strategy to Replace- Reduce- Refine as under:

REPLACE– reviewing where and why antibiotics are currently used and replace with interventions such as vaccination, changes to husbandry, improved bio security, reduction of stress, control of coccidiosis. Reducing the moisture in the house will result in better litter quality, reduced coccidiosis, better gut health and thereby reduced antibiotic usage.

REDUCE – Reducing the number of birds receiving treatment, through effective monitoring of every crop, by production system . An action plan identifying reasons-for-use for farms using high levels of antibiotic should be put in place to help improve their management structure and reduce their usage. 

REFINE – continuously refining existing strategies using usage data collection, new technologies, new vaccines, probiotics, prebiotics etc.

Poultry producers must ensure that Birds are provided with optimal nutrition suitable to meet their needs especially in breeding flocks in order to optimize breeder health, chick quality and viability and gut health. Body weights should be monitored to ensure the birds are on target for age and breed. Feed should be heat treated in manufacture to kill any pathogens. The use of appropriate prebiotics and probiotics should be considered in optimizing gut health and nutrition.



Post Date: 25 Apr 2022