Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 3 December 2016

'Resistance to antibiotics could become a bigger public health issue than cancer' Are farmers to blame?

Published 18/11/2016 | 13:09

A recent UK study suggests that AMR will be the leading cause of death in humans by 2050, making it a greater threat than cancer
A recent UK study suggests that AMR will be the leading cause of death in humans by 2050, making it a greater threat than cancer

Farmers are being told that antibiotics are an important resource for the agriculture industry but must be used wisely if they are to remain effective.

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The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is being increasingly recognised as one of the world’s biggest problems in terms of human health and could be a bigger threat than cancer.

A recent UK study suggests that AMR will be the leading cause of death in humans by 2050, making it a greater threat than cancer, stated Minister Creed. 

Speaking on European Antibiotics Awareness Day, the Minister explained that antimicrobial resistance occurs when microbes that could previously be killed by antibiotics are no longer susceptible.

They have developed resistance, which means that many common bacterial infections are now becoming increasingly difficult to treat.

He went on to explain that this issue is relevant to the agriculture sector because, if AMR is to be tackled effectively, there must be collaboration across the human, veterinary and environmental sectors.

“AMR is a global problem that is not contained by borders or within any one sector. All of the major international plans for dealing with AMR support a 'One Health' approach urging collaboration across the human, veterinary and environmental sectors. 

“Therefore, we must all play our part. Insofar as the agriculture sector is concerned, all of us, including Government, the pharmaceutical industry, the veterinary profession, and farmers have a role to play. Behavioural change is never easy, nor is it a short-term project but there must be a combined effort if we are to realistically tackle the problem”.

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Antimicrobial resistance is being increasingly recognised as one of the world’s biggest problems in terms of human health.
Antimicrobial resistance is being increasingly recognised as one of the world’s biggest problems in terms of human health.

In this context, Minister Creed said that his Department continues to work with all the relevant stakeholders in the agricultural sector, and with the Department of Health and other health colleagues, through the mechanism of the Interdepartmental AMR Consultative Committee which was established jointly by the Ministers for Health and Agriculture in 2014.

Minister Creed went on to say that “that antibiotics are a necessity for the agriculture sector in order to prevent and control disease and ensure that healthy animals enter the food chain. Therefore, we must all in the agri-food industry play our part in conserving this resource by using antibiotics prudently; by this I mean as little as possible and as much as necessary.” 

Minister Creed asked farmers to remember the 4 R’s - right animal, right drug, right dose, right duration.

The Minister concluded by stating that his Department is holding a seminar on AMR on Wednesday, 30 November, in the Mullingar Park Hotel entitled “Antimicrobial Resistance – What can farmers do?”. 

The seminar aims to continue the dialogue between the relevant stakeholders on what actions need to be taken to address the problem of antimicrobial resistance in order to ensure that antibiotics remain effective in the future. 

 The seminar will include speakers presenting the most up to date information on AMR in relation to usage, what's happening on the human health side, as well as industry developments and what farmers can do to tackle AMR on their farms.

Online Editors