“We need to decrease the need for antibiotics in order to reduce their use”

30 November 2016

Thomas Van Boeckel, author of frequently cited research on antimicrobial consumption in food animals, gave an inspiring presentation in a side event during EuroTier. The postdoctoral Fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (ETH) in Zürich, explainedthe 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.

During his lecture in a Seminar organized by Trouw Nutrition Selko, Dr. Van Boeckel pointed out that it is needed to rely less on antibiotics as a mean 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 antibiotics 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 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 of 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 for the potential different alternatives to improve my farming practices and reduce antibiotic consumption”.

About alternatives and strategies

Trouw Nutrition Selko was the event organizer.  Thomas Van Boeckel was one of the three speakers that gathered together in the seminar titled “Reduction of antibiotic use through an integrated gut health program”. Selko solutions provide a number of strategies to face the challenge and help its customers to maintain performance while reducing antibiotics. Farm, feed and health management are combined to offer an integrated approach that help face challenges in the long term. 

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