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Weekly Overview: Alarm Sounded over Antibiotic Use in Farm Animals

26 March 2015

GLOBAL - As concerns continue to be expressed about growing antibiotic resistance, a new international report projects antibiotic use in farm animals will increase by two-thirds by 2030 compared with 2010. New outbreaks of avian flu have been reported in the last week in Taiwan, Palestinian Territory and the US, as well as new human cases in China and Egypt.

A new study estimates that global use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry will be 67 per cent higher in 2030 than in 2010 as agriculture intensifies to meet the growing demand for animal protein.

Between 2010 and 2030, the global consumption of antimicrobials will increase from 63,151 to 105,596 tons, according to Simon Levin of Princeton University and and co-authors from a number of international institutions.

The group attributes up to one-third of the increase in consumption in livestock between 2010 and 2030 to shifting production practices in middle-income countries where extensive farming systems will be replaced by large-scale intensive farming operations that routinely use antimicrobials in sub-therapeutic doses.

The researchers have calculated that, for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the increase in antimicrobial consumption will be 99 per cent – up to seven times the projected population growth in this group of countries.

There needs to be a better understanding of the consequences of the uninhibited growth in veterinary antimicrobial consumption is needed to assess its potential effects on animal and human health, Levin and co-authors added.

We are interested to know what our readers – producers, vets, politicians, industry organisations and consumers – understand and know about the use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance. Please take part in our online survey, which is short and anonymous.

Poultry Health Today has published the highlights of a roundtable discussion on meeting the challenge of antibiotic use restrictions while maintaining flock health, welfare and sustainability.

And finally, on news of bird flu, there have been new outbreaks of highly pathogenic flu in Taiwan and the Palestinian Territory reported in the last week and one new outbreak of the low-path disease in US (Kansas). There have also been new human cases in China and Egypt.

Jackie Linden

Jackie Linden

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