December 2, 2016


We need to decrease the need for antibiotics in order to reduce their use, expert author says




Thomas Van Boeckel, author of frequently cited research on antimicrobial consumption in food animals, gave an inspiring presentation during a seminar organised by Trouw Nutrition Selko at EuroTier in Hanover, Germany last month.


The postdoctoral fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (ETH) in Zürich, explained the global situation regarding antimicrobial use and the key findings of his work. "If we keep going as we are in animal production and antibiotic use, we are soon going to face a global antibiotic resistance crisis," he anticipated.



Dr. Van Boeckel pointed out that it is needed to rely less on antibiotics as a means to control infections. The biggest barrier to reduce antibiotics is the actual need of their use. Therefore, he explained, the efforts should be put on reducing their need to accomplish a reduction in their use.


Talking to an audience of animal producers facing the challenge to reduce antibiotic use worldwide, Van Boeckel shed light on possible strategies for the industry. "There is no silver bullet to solve this problem," he said. "We need to work within a range of options that include hygiene, building better facilities, limiting contact of animals with humans of other sources of infection. And it also includes potential nutritional solutions".


He highlighted that we are in a shifting landscape between antibiotic use and alternative strategies. Putting himself in the shoes of a producer Van Boeckel said, "If I was a farmer, I would be very open-minded for the potential different alternatives to improve my farming practices and reduce antibiotic consumption".
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