During the 14th Round Table hosted by the Belgian Meat Office, one of the main topics of discussion was the fight against the use of antibiotics in livestock farming. In 2018, the organization recorded the largest reduction in the use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine since 2011. Since 2014, the Belgian meat industry has focused on three ambitious targets to reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock farming in AMCRA's ‘2020 Vision’ plan:
The majority of the results are very positive and, in the meantime, 2 of the 3 targets have been achieved. For the total use of antibiotics, Amcra recorded a decrease of 12.8% compared to 2017 and of 35.4% compared to 2011. As far as the use of critical antibiotics is concerned, there was an increase of 34.4% in 2018. Although if compared to 2011, there is a reduction of 79.1% so that the pre-established target of 75% was more than achieved. The use of feeds medicated with antibiotics has also decreased. The reduction achieved between 2011 and 2018 is an impressive 69.8%.
Pig sector top of the class
What is new in 2018 is the publication of the data on the use of antibiotics collected at the level of the individual livestock farms for the pig, veal calf, broiler and laying-hen sectors. For the pig sector, AMCRA could already see that thanks to the benchmarking system, the use of antibiotics has reduced. This is confirmed by the data collected in the AB Register since 2014. “As has already been proven by the pig sector, benchmarking makes it possible to create more awareness amongst livestock farmers and vets. This will have a positive impact to achieve further reduction in the total use of antibiotics”, says Dr. Fabiana Dal Pozzo, AMCRA coordinator.
First decrease in antibiotic resistance
Thanks to the reduction in the use of critical antibiotics, Belgium can already see a clear reduction in the resistance to these antibiotics. The resistance to frequently used antibiotics on the other hand remains just as high as in 2011. This once again shows how important it is that the sector continues its efforts. However, it is encouraging that the cooperation between AMCRA, the authorities and all the other organizations involved is leading to concrete, positive results. This offers additional motivation for all the parties involved who are committing to the reduced and sustainable use of antibiotics in animals in the fight against antibiotic resistance.
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