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New antimicrobial controls likely to hit EU pig industries

by 5m Editor
2 June 2006, at 12:00am

UK - Unless the European pig industries lobby strongly, they could be faced with a second wave of restrictions within the next five years on the use of antibiotics in pig production.

This time it would involve prescribed antibiotics and could make it difficult to control such problems as E coli, ileitis and respiratory infections and have a major economic impact on hard-pushed pig farmers.

This warning came from David Burch the new president of the British Pig Veterinary Society. He succeeds Suffolk vet Roger Harvey. Dr Jill Thomson, manager of the Scottish Agricultural Colleges Veterinary Services, Edinburgh, takes over as the new vice-president.

Mr Burch, runs Berkshire-based Octagon Services Ltd, a consultancy company specialising in the development, registration and marketing of antimicrobial products. He worked in mixed and specialised pig practices before embarking on a 20-year career within the animal health industry. He has recently been accepted as a Diplomate of the new European College of Porcine Health Management.

"I am concerned that there will be increasing pressure on the availability of certain classes of antimicrobial for use in veterinary medicine in the future, even though it is widely accepted that the majority of antimicrobial resistance problems in man are due to medical use," commented Mr Burch.

Pressure from the WHO, the US FDA and some countries within the EU is likely to restrict the use of fluoroquinolones and cephalosporins - used in piglets to treat E coli and respiratory infections as well as macrolides use to control ileitis and respiratory disease.

"I believe this will have a major impact on pig production, particularly for British producers with their improved welfare systems. This can backfire on us since intestinal diseases in piglets, growers and finishers can be worse in solid-floor, straw-based systems, rather than on slatted floors as pigs eat contaminated straw," he said.

Source: Pig Veterinary Society - 26th May 2006

5m Editor