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Beneficial Bacteria a Promising Alternative to Antibiotics for Growth Promotion

05 August 2016
Manitoba Pork Council

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CANADA - The Chair of Swine Innovation Porc says the use of beneficial bacteria to improve gut health offers a promising alternative to the use of antibiotics in young pigs to promote growth, writes Bruce Coochrane.

Proposed Changes to Canada's Food and Drug Regulations Related to Antimicrobial Resistance were published July 2, kicking off a 75 day public comment period.

One of the key changes being proposed is the elimination of the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in the production of food animals.

Stewart Cressman, the Chair of Swine Innovation Porc, says, while it is important to maintain access to antibiotics to treat sick animals, pork producers support discontinuing the use of antibiotics for growth promotion.

Stewart Cressman-Swine Innovation Porc:

From a research perspective we've certainly looked at the microbiome, which is the gut microflora, as an area for investigation and it's an area that is receiving a lot of investigative work.

We're trying to figure out is there a way, especially in the young pig, that we can seed the gut with the right microflora and get a response similar to what we did by feeding an antibiotic but without feeding an antibiotic and ensuring that the right microflora is there and maybe boosting growth and performance of the animal as well.

Again, from the perspective of can we reduce or eliminate the need for antibiotics in the animal in the nursery as we transition from weaning to the nursery.
Again, that's where the pig is the most fragile.

Mr Cressman says that's an area in which researchers are being brought together.

He says Swine Innovation Porc doesn't currently have any active research happening but the hope is to have something happening in that area in a very short time.

ThePigSite News Desk

Top image via Shutterstock

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