Canadian Livestock Producers Adapting Well to Antibiotic Use Changes

CANADA - A Saskatchewan base swine veterinarian says Canadian livestock producers have been incredibly responsible when it comes to the use of antibiotics in animals raised for food, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 4 September 2015
clock icon 3 minute read

By the end of 2016 US pork Producers will be required to discontinue the use for growth promotion of antibiotics used in human medicine and antibiotics in classes for human medicine used for therapeutic purposes in pork production will require veterinary oversight.

The Canadian pharmaceutical industry has moved to voluntarily end antibiotic use for growth promotion over those same time lines while, in regards to veterinary oversight, veterinary antibiotic use is regulated provincially, and the provinces are working together to determine what changes will happen in Canada.

Dr Leigh Rosengren, with Rosengren Epidemiology Consulting, says, in the short term, we can expect to see all new antimicrobial products to be prescription only and more products currently available without a prescription to shift to being prescription only.

Dr Leigh Rosengren-Rosengren Epidemiology Consulting:

Obviously we continue to use antibiotics in conventional livestock production and that would be true of all of the major commodities.

Antimicrobials are currently used for disease treatment, disease prevention, and until 2016, there may be some limited use for growth promotion.

I think, over the last decade, we've seen a shift in antimicrobial use.

We've seen a decrease in the total net use and a shift to products that are of lesser unimportance to human medicine.

The unfortunate fact is that we don't always have the data collection and reporting to be able to back up those observations but that's the general trend that we're seeing in the industry.

Dr Rosengren says overall, whether we're talking pork, chicken, beef, the industries have been incredibly responsible and have taken this issue very seriously. She notes they've rolled out a lot of continuing education and quality assurance programs and people are making changes in their operations.

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