Post-antibiotic era in the poultry industry?
Antibiotic growth promotion in agricultural animal
production has been practiced for about 50 years. Antibiotic growth promoters
(AGPs) have undoubtedly improved animal performance and health status. Their
removal from the poultry diets will therefore be a change with many
Removal of AGPs is currently one of the most important concerns in the
poultry industry. Are improvements in biosecurity measures and management
practices in poultry operations adequate to minimize consequences of AGP
It has been clear from the very early studies that diets can
influence the microflora of the intestinal tract and as a result, response to
antibiotic growth promoters can also be affected. With removal of antibiotics
from feed and subsequent changes in microbial population of the intestinal
tract, interaction between diet and microflora has become even more
These interactions will make the intestinal environment more
challenging which may then affect performance and health
status of the host animal. Gut health and possible ways to maintain
intestinal integrity have been one of the main areas in poultry research
projects in recent years.
Removal of AGPs from poultry feed and
subsequent increases in infections in animals, despite efforts to improve animal
production management practices, have resulted in a substantial increase in the
use of therapeutic antibiotics for food animals in Europe.
and expenditure involved in the imposition of the ban would have been better
spent on achieving rational antibiotic use in humans and animals, and on much
greater efforts to understand the complex
epidemiology of antibiotic resistance.
(in-feed) use of antibiotics has been banned in Europe, there are many countries
in different parts of the world that still rely on in-feed antibiotics. It is
difficult, therefore, to assess the success of current efforts to establish
practical approaches as replacement for antibiotic growth promoters on a global
Is there any alternative?
All evidence suggests that it
is unlikely that a single economically viable replacement to AGPs could be implemented. It has become
increasingly clear that a multi-factorial approach is needed to address the
challenges specific to the on-farm situation.
An effective alternative to in-feed antibiotics should
have a significant and sustainable beneficial impact on animal production (e.g.
feed efficiency, body weight gain) and health, be proven safe for both the
animal and human population, be easy to apply and store and provide a
substantial return on investment.
Is this alternative currently available
to the poultry industry or will be in the near future?
is a very important determinant when we want to implement a new strategy in the
poultry industry. How is this trend (alternative to antibiotics) going on in
your region? Is it a major concern for the industry and public? What do you
think about ban of prophylactic use of antibiotics and its subsequent effects on
the poultry industry in your country?
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