October has seen several high profile media outlets cover antibiotic usage in food producing animals. VirtualVet welcomes the attention this issue is generating, but fears the coverage will be ignored by many within the industry – including farmers and their vets.
The strongest piece from an Irish point of view, was the coverage in the Irish Independent of the CAVI conference.
At the conference, Prof Martin Cormican said “Antibiotic resistance is impacting on
people now,” warning that there is an increasing body of evidence which points to this resistance being transferred from animals into the food chain. Prof Cormican continued that “People think about it as a future problem but it is not a future problem. Antibiotic resistance has an impact on the recommendations that I make every day.” Prof Cormican’s comments were briefly covered in the Farmers Journal (image attached).
This coverage was followed in the Farmers Journal online edition Thursday Oct 26th under the heading “EU rules to prevent antibiotics from being used as growth promoters”, but the most interesting line in the article which could have immediate impact on how European farmers is:
“To help tackle antimicrobial resistance, the law would empower the European Commission to select antimicrobials to be reserved only for treating humans”
If, for example, the Commission follows World Health Organisation catergorisation of antibiotics critically important to humans, there will be immediate impacts on the treatment choices available to European dairy farmers. This summer, VirtualVet produced a booklet to help farmers and vets to start the conversation about critically important antibiotics (CIAs). The guide is available by contacting us here.
But this is not just a European issue. Last week an article on CBS News caught our eye. This article mentions an antibiotic, Tylosin, which is an example of a CIA. It’s also all too common in remedy records we see here.
Farmers and vets need to have more open discussions and conversations about their choices of animal treatment. These conversations can be helped with better data.
VirtualVet helps farmers record and monitor their on-farm drug usage, ready for analysis with their vet as they co-design animal health plans.