The challenge of antibiotic reduction can only be faced with an integrated approach. Above all, it all starts with creating awareness around the topic. This was stated by Prof Leo den Hartog, Director of R&D at Trouw Nutrition.
He presented his views on antibiotic reduction and the associated challenges at a recent event organised by Trouw Nutrition. Selko. Prof. den Hartog explained that the first step towards antibiotic reduction is to create awareness, because not everyone has knowledge of the global threats of antimicrobial resistance. However, we do see that the discussion has been initiated. “In nearly all of the countries around the world, antimicrobial resistance is one of the top priorities of issues to solve”, he said.
Secondly, the importance of showing alternatives was addressed. According to Den Hartog, the solution can be found in an integrated approach: feed, farm and health management. The use of antibiotics can be reduced by optimising farm management, enhancing animal health and providing good nutrition. Good nutrition, he explained, means starting from the beginning of the production cycle with good quality ingredients but also with natural feed additives. When developing the concept of the integrated approach it was especially stressed the fact that a change in mind-set is needed, meaning that collaboration with experts and education of producers are key.
Den Hartog said that the last step is to implement the changes. It is important to show to animal producers that implementing this integrated approach delivers same or even better results. Conclusions from several field trials were presented to support these statements. “If I was a poultry producer I would have a critical look at my diets and improve my farm management. I would stop immediately the use of antimicrobial growth promoters and only use antibiotics with therapeutic purposes, just when animals are really sick”, Den Hartog concluded.
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