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New Zealand farmers achieve lower antibiotic use

By Carina Perkins+ , 02-Jan-2014

New Zealand farmers achieve lower antibiotic use

New Zealand livestock farmers have reduced antibiotic use in recent years, according to a report released by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

The report looked at antibiotic sales in 2009-2011 and concluded that overall antibiotic use in veterinary medicine and horticulture fell by 19% during the period. It added that this decrease was primarily driven by “positive changes in the management of production animal health”, with the meat and dairy industries moving towards non-antibiotic preventative treatment and changing on-farm practices to reduce antibiotic reliance.

“These changes are most clearly demonstrated in the pork industry, where vaccination is being more widely used to prevent disease, and in the dairy industry, where teat-sealing and dry cow therapies are being used more often in the management of mastitis,” stated the report.

The report did identify areas where further improvements could be made. These included increases in the use of several antibiotics, such as injectable tylosin in cattle and third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins in production animals. It added that the marketing and choice of antibiotics appeared to be “based on convenience rather than what may be the most appropriate therapeutic choice”.

MPI deputy director-general for standards Carol Barnoa said this indicated a need to “look at controls around the marketing and use of antibiotic products to determine they effectively manage risks associated with antibiotic resistance”.

MPI said that the next report, which would cover 2011-2013, would be released by June 2014.

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