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Alternatives to antibiotics address consumer demand, help maintain animal health

11 January 2019, at 12:00am

CANADA - A University of Manitoba Masters Student says alternatives to antibiotics offer livestock producers an opportunity to improve animal health at a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with what's in their food

New restrictions on the use of antibiotics in livestock production have accelerated the search for alternatives.

Faith Omonijo, a masters student with the University of Manitoba, explains any product that has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties and that is generally recognised as safe and is approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency can serve as a potential alternative to antibiotics or growth promoters, such as essential oils, probiotics or prebiotics.

Ms Omonijo says: "Finding alternatives to antibiotics is highly paramount during this period when consumers are afraid of eating meat due to the issues with antibiotics.

"Farmers were also worried about the restrictions that Canada and other countries placed on the use of antibiotics in farms.

"Therefore, I believe finding a suitable alternative that is cost effective and can potentially replace antibiotics will bring smiles to the face of the farmers."

Ms Omonijo says that these alternatives can be used for therapeutic purposes and they can be used to improve growth performance.

She continues, "We consider the overall benefit is to increase the profit of the farmers because these alternatives can help to promote gut health, it can reduce the mortality in the farm, it can increase the feed conversion ratio of the animals, it improves beneficial bacteria in the gut, it reduces stress during the period of weaning and also disease conditions.

"Also alternatives to antibiotics to help to reduce odor in the farm."

Ms Omonijo stresses finding alternatives to antibiotics is not enough, and proper hygiene and good management practices are also essential.

As reported by Bruce Cochrane for

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