Two key steps to reduce antibiotic resistance in pig production

  • By optimizing productivity, health and welfare, European pig producers can contribute to a reduction in antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the food chain.
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An increasing number of reports on antibiotic-resistant bacteria in animals and humans have raised concerns about the current use of antibiotics, both as a treatment for humans and to combat disease in animals. Antibiotic growth promoters have been banned from animal feed in the European Union since 2006. Up until that point, they had been routinely added to pig diets to promote digestive health and growth. However, many countries all over the world are now following the European example.
 
Addressing a recent Alltech webinar in conjunction with Pig Progress, Dr. Anna Catharina Berge, owner of Berge Veterinary Consulting BVBA and academic advisor to Ghent University’s veterinary epidemiology unit, discussed antibiotic resistance in pig production. 
 
“The use of antimicrobials to prevent disease or treat a sick production system is not a sustainable practice,” said Berge. 
Reducing antibiotic use includes much more than removing them from animal production. It requires putting the animals’ health first, a change in thinking, a long checklist and taking the right steps. 
 
Berge emphasized how producers can combat disease through simple management recommendations in, for example, biosecurity. During the webinar, she highlighted the use of nutritional solutions and treatment recommendations as ways to control the usage of antibiotics.  
 
She outlined her two key steps to reduce antimicrobial resistance in pig production: 
1.    Holistic programs that optimize pig health and productivity will result in reduced antimicrobial use and will, ultimately, curb increased antimicrobial resistance.  
2.    The Alltech Antibiotic-Reduction program is an industry-initiated program whereby farms receive total herd audits and recommendations for efficient performance and increased herd profitability, with the aim being to reduce antimicrobial use. The program focuses on all aspects of production and highlights areas of risk or areas where productivity can be improved. 
 
By optimizing productivity, health and welfare, European pig producers can contribute to a reduction in antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the food chain. To watch the antibiotic reduction webinar, please click here. If you would like more information on the Alltech Antibiotic-Reduction program, please click here.