Regulatory Changes to Improve Antibiotic Use in Livestock Farming

CANADA - A Saskatchewan-based veterinary epidemiologist says consumers can be confident that regulatory changes in the works will better reflect how antibiotics are used in livestock production, and will continue to improve that use, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 1 March 2016
clock icon 3 minute read

Public interest in antibiotic resistance has increased dramatically over the past couple of years.

Dr Leigh Rosengren, an epidemiologist with Rosengren Epidemiology Consulting, says when ever we get more public interest in an issue we get more media coverage but antibiotic resistance is highly complex and the challenge for media is in distilling this into short news clips and this can become very misleading.

Dr Leigh Rosengren-Rosengren Epidemiology Consulting:

Both the Canadian government and the American government are moving in tandem as we speak.
Canadian regulations are being updated in several aspects.

One of the most important ones is that the government is working in conjunction with our pharmaceutical industry to remove label claims to use feed antimicrobials for what we call production purposes or growth promotion.

That's not how we use antibiotics in the livestock industry.

By the end of 2016 that use will no longer be on our labels and so our labels will reflect how we actually use them in the industry so that's a very positive move.

The government's also moving to close some loopholes in the regulations that I think will give them increased control over the products that are in Canadian livestock, in the market place, and finally the government is moving to increase veterinary oversight of the use of antimicrobials in food animals.

That's a very reassuring move for the public that there'll be increased veterinary involvement in these decisions and I think that consumers can be quite confident that those will continue to improve how we use antibiotics in the livestock industry.

Dr Rosengren says, in covering this issue, the media tends to come up with very short clips that either place blame or suggest quick solutions when there are no easy answers.

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