The International Dairy Federation (IDF) is joining the global fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by strongly advocating prudent and responsible use of antimicrobials and adhering to the standards set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
Dr Olav Østerås, Chair of the IDF Standing Committee on Animal Health and Welfare, has stressed the importance of handling antimicrobials with care to preserve their efficacy and safeguard public health.
“Antimicrobials must be used responsibly and only when needed for the treatment of infected and diseased animals so as to preserve animal welfare, including dairy cows. Healthy animals do not need antibiotics,” said Dr Østerås. “It is important to prioritize infection prevention through good animal husbandry, hygiene practices and biosecurity to reduce but optimise the use of antimicrobials.
Failure to address AMR, he said, can have an adverse effect on livestock farming, sustainable development, economic growth, global trade and the environment. He added that IDF has published toolkits on AMR to assist the dairy sector in dealing with the issue at the national level.
Dr María Sánchez Mainar, IDF Science and Standards Programme Manager, said the use of antimicrobials is only part of an animal health management programme which aims to limit diseases in animals and improve animal welfare.
“Early detection of diseases allows early preventive intervention, and this minimises the need to use antimicrobials,” said Dr Sánchez Mainar. “Improved infection prevention and control through good management and biosecurity measures limit the spread of diseases and progressively reduces the usage of antimicrobial agents.”
She stressed that IDF encourages good animal health and welfare to minimize the need for antimicrobial use. Prudent and responsible use of antimicrobial agents within the global dairy industry, she added, will to ensure that they continue to be effective and useful for curing diseases in animals.
Dr Sánchez Mainar said the dairy sector will continue to evaluate potential strategies to optimise the use of antimicrobial agents only for diseased animals which need and can respond to antibiotic treatment, thereby reducing their use.
IDF is working closely with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), UN Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization on AMR, and supports its global campaign on World Antibiotic Awareness Week from 12-18 November 2018. This year’s campaign is targeted at key players in the agricultural, animal husbandry and public health sectors with the tagline ‘We need you!’. The aim is to encourage all stakeholders to play a vital role in managing the use of antibiotics in a responsible manner to safeguard against antimicrobial resistance.