Antibiotic use in healthy farm animals needs to stop

Leslie Hanson
November 11, 2017

Paul Cosford, medical director at Public Health England, said: "Antibiotic resistance is not a distant threat, but is in fact one of the most unsafe global crises facing the modern world today". In the US, the FDA allows for the use of antimicrobial drugs in treating, controlling, and preventing disease in food-producing animals under the professional oversight of licensed veterinarians. "Strong, sustained action across all sectors is vital if we are to turn back the tide of antimicrobial resistance and keep the world safe", he explained.

Experts are predicting that in just over 30 years antibiotic resistance will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined.

World Health Organization guidelines garnered support from some consumer and environmental advocacy groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The WHO has issued new recommendations to help preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics by reducing their unnecessary use in animals.

These are the first formal; guidelines on this issue that is released by the WHO.

It said animals should be treated with the drug listed as "least important" to human health, and not with those classified as "highest priority" or "critically important", which are often the last resort or only option for treating serious bacterial infections in humans. The report calls to attention the fact that in several countries almost 80 percent of the national antibiotic consumption is in the animal sector and the main aim of this is to promote growth in the animals.

"Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant".

Some types of bacteria that cause serious infections in humans have already developed resistance to most or all of the available treatments, and there are very few promising options in the research pipeline.

It has warned that in some countries, around 80% of the total consumption of medically important antibiotics is in the animal sector, and used largely to promote growth in healthy animals.

The WHO also recommends improving hygiene, better use of vaccination, and changes in animal housing and husbandry practices as alternatives to using antibiotics in animals for disease prevention.

Healthy animals can be given antibiotics if disease of infection is to be prevented when it has occurred in other animals that live within the same herd or flock or population says the World Health Organization guidelines.

For example, since 2006, the European Union has banned the use of antibiotics for growth promotion.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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