Use of antibiotic growth promoters or AGPs is a controversial subject when it comes to residue causing antimicrobial resistance in humans. The scientific data on this has not been proven yet. But will eliminating or minimizing AGPs affect profitability of swine farmers? Asian Agribiz spoke with Elanco’s Dr Shabbir Simjee, Chief Medical Officer and Dr Roselle Cudal, Technical Consultant for Swine and discovered:
1) Residue does not necessarily cause resistance as the amounts present in the animal (or meat) would be extremely low due to several reasons such as its survivability through many processes.
2) There are different kinds of antibiotics which have been classified as medically important and non-medically important to humans. It is possible to administer non-medically important antibiotics in small doses for herds, but with good management systems.
3) Banning of AGPs in Europe was more of a precautionary measure. The US however, reclassified them and continues using non-medically important ones backed by WHO’s blessings.
4) With good awareness on how AGPs work, farmers can opt for the right antibiotics for their animals or minimize its usage (reserving for intervention purposes only), where good management practices, vaccination and holistic care are advised. The mixture of good management and the correct AGP usage will contribute to both herd and business longevity.
5) An example given was – when proper cleaning and disinfection is done in between batches of pigs occupying one building, disease transmission will become lower where the need to use medical interventions such as AGPs will also decrease.