'No antibiotics' approach won't work, warns top vet

The dairy industry is a low user of antibiotics in general
The dairy industry is a low user of antibiotics in general
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) call for a ban on preventative antibiotic use in livestock would be counter-productive, a veterinary expert has claimed.

Doreen Corridan of Munster Cattle Breeding told the Farming Independent that the focus instead needs to be on better animal health management systems.

“We have to get away from the attitude of no antibiotics because that leads to welfare issues and sick animals not being treated,” she said.

“When we need them we do need to use them but they have to be used responsibly.”

“It’s a case of us all working together, we’ve only a limited set (of antibiotics) to work with.

“We need to reduce the requirement for them, use them correctly and keep the critical ones for humans. It’s a balanced approach we need.”

Last week the WHO issued recommendations to stop farmers using antibiotics as a means of promoting herd growth and preventing diseases. The recommendations are part of a campaigns to tackle increased antimicrobial resistance in humans.

Ms Corridan said that better health management systems will increase herd resistance to diseases.

Get the latest news from the Farming Independent team 3 times a week.

“More national programmes like the BVD scheme will give us a healthier herd,” she said.

“At farm level, animals need less stress, and we can also play a role by having good parasite control on farms and should use genetics to breed animals for resilience.

“Make sure the right animals get the right drug at the right dose, for the required period of time and  follow the label use. We need to adhere to the actual withdrawal time.”

Ms Corridan added that incentives could be given to drug companies to develop new families of antibiotics to tackle the issue.

Online Editors

For Stories Like This and More
Download the Free Farming Independent App