CANADA - A Saskatchewan based veterinary consultant is encouraging pork producers to be aware of the potential ramifications of the use of antibiotics on their farms, writes Bruce Cochrane.
Antibiotics kill or suppress the bacteria that causes infection and they are used in agriculture to treat sick animals, to prevent the spread of disease and for growth promotion although that use has tailed off.
Dr Leigh Rosengren, with Rosengren Epidemiology Consulting, told those participating in Alberta Pork's monthly PED update earlier this month, because of concerns over antibiotic resistance, we've seen a massive increase in interest among consumers, media and regulators in the use of antibiotics in agriculture.
Dr Leigh Rosengren-Rosengren Epidemiology Consulting:
Canada has an amazing reputation of being producers of excellent top quality food that is safe and this really does come down to a food safety issue so, when you're using antibiotics on your farm, make sure you're using products that are licensed in Canada, use them according to the label when ever it's possible and make sure that your veterinarian is involved in those decisions.
Your veterinarian has access to tools and information to make that decision that you as a producer may not have access to.
As an industry we really need to be proactive on this issue because if we're not the risk is, or the concern is, that we will limit our access to antibiotics to maybe certain drugs or certain classes or certain ways of using products.
Every time we limit our tool box we jeopardize the health and welfare of our animals because we need these antimicrobials to keep them healthy.
We also need to be very good stewards of these products because not only does resistance emerge in communities and hospitals but it emerges on our farms and so there's an individual value here of minimizing resistance on you farm to maintain the effectiveness of those drugs when you need them.
Dr Rosengren says every producer should know what they're using, where they're using it and why and what they would expect health wise if they weren't using it.
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