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VIV EUROPE: Dutch Make Big Strides in Cutting Antibiotic Use

26 May 2014


THE NETHERLANDS - Great progress is being made in The Netherlands towards its declared aim of reducing the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry production, Dr Hetty van Beers of the Dutch animal health authority told at a special conference at VIV Europe 2014 last week.

National results to be published in June will show a 50 to 60 per cent reduction in antibiotics usage in 2013 compared with the start of the campaign in 2007.

The government target of a 70 per cent cut-back by 2015 still looks hard to reach, but some sectors of the animal protein industries have been especially successful and the idea now is to set goals for each farm species.

Among possibilities for taking antibiotics out of poultry production involves the concept of giving nutrients to chicks soon after they have hatched, the conference heard from Carla van der Pol of HatchTech.

Testing has shown that giving newly-hatched chicks access to feed promotes their health as well as their growth. One trial of early feeding of a nutritional supplement found that the chicks were better at withstanding an experimental coccidiosis challenge some weeks later. Nutrients can function as immunity modulators while microbiota in the feed can start populating the gut flora.

Systems exhibited at VIV Europe 2014 which have links to this concept include the Patio and X-Treck from Vencomatic as well as HatchCare from HatchTech.

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