Producers urged to reconsider animal health management

An innovative piggery in Young has proven successful in reducing the use of antibiotics, without compromising the health and productivity of its stock.

Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp, visited the large 2000-sow farm today, as part of activities to mark Antibiotic Awareness Week, and said the piggery is leading the way for other producers.

“It’s common knowledge that excessive use of antibiotic treatment can lead to strains of bacteria emerging which don’t respond to current antibiotic treatment—this is known as antimicrobial resistance,” Dr Schipp said.

“Antimicrobial resistance is recognised as a growing threat to human and animal health on a global scale, and by creating awareness, we are mitigating this threat to animal welfare, biosecurity and production.

“While Australia has among the lowest levels of antibiotic use in animals, some use is required to maintain health and welfare, which means the threat of an antibiotic resistant bacteria emerging is very real.

“In Australia, both the human and animal health sectors are collaborating with the food and agricultural industries, to develop a combat plan in case an antimicrobial resistant bacteria emerges.

“The Young piggery I visited has implemented a common sense approach to managing animal health by providing adequate nutrition, abiding to strict biosecurity measures and using vaccines to control infectious diseases in livestock production.

“This piggery’s management model has been duplicated in other parts of the world, which demonstrates that Australia is a world leader in developing innovative and practical animal management strategies.”

All livestock farmers and animal health professionals like veterinarians are part of the solution in tackling antimicrobial resistance, by reducing the need for, and use, of antibiotics.

Further information about Antibiotic Awareness Week.

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