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Improved Animal Health First Step in Reducing Antibiotics in Livestock Production

24 May 2016
Manitoba Pork Council

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CANADA - A researcher with the Prairie Swine Center says improved animal health is the first step in reducing the need for antibiotics in livestock production.

"Alternatives to Antibiotic Use" was discussed last month as part of the Prairie Swine Centre's 2016 Spring Producer Meetings held in Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Dr Dan Columbus, a Research Associate Nutrition, with the Prairie Swine Center, notes public concern related to antibiotic use has led to legislation to regulate the use of antibiotics in feed for growth promotion.

Dr Dan Columbus-Prairie Swine Center:

Our major concerns with the use of antibiotics is basically increasing public concern regarding residues in our food products as well as the possibility for transfer of resistance and the increase in microbial resistance to many antibiotics that may be of importance to human health so this has led to legislation that has regulated the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in feed so we need to look at alternatives for that antibiotic use.

The biggest strategies is either one, to improve our management of how we deal with and work with these animals to improve their overall health and this could be anything from overall improved management, increasing vaccination and disease eradication programs, use of resistant genetics and improved environment that we raise our animals in.

We also have a number of nutritional methods that we can look at to reduce our need for the in-feed antibiotics for growth promotion.

The take-home message for this is that there are alternatives available for in-feed antibiotics as growth promotants but our biggest tool is going to be improved management and overall improving the health status and robustness of our animals to make sure that they are more able to withstand pathogen challenges and remain healthy.

Dr Columbus says we know a healthy animal requires less antibiotics so improved health is key to reducing antibiotic use.

ThePigSite News Desk

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