“If we keep going as we are in animal production and antibiotic use, we are soon going to face a global antibiotic resistance crisis,” Thomas Van Boeckel said.
This was stated by Thomas Van Boeckel, postdoctoral Fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (ETH) in Zürich. In his presentation, during a side event from Trouw Nutrition Selko at EuroTier, he explained the global situation regarding antimicrobial use and the key findings of his work and 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 into reducing the need for antibiotics, 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 a 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 or other sources of infection. And it also includes potential nutritional solutions.”
In a room with over 100 industry related people, the speaker highlighted that we are in a shifting landscape between antibiotic use and alternative strategies. Putting himself in the shoes of a producer Van Boeckel stated, “If I was a farmer, I would be very open-minded to the potential of different alternatives to improve my farming practices and reduce antibiotic consumption.”