Herbs and spices work
The discussion on how to produce poultry without the use of antibiotics will not stop until proven alternatives have been found. In some parts of the world producers still may wonder why on earth this is an issue, but in the western world where researchers may still fight about whether there is a valid scientific reason for a ban, producers simply have no choice.
True or not the preventive use of antibiotics in livestock production is seen to be a threat for human health. Consequently producers have to grow their birds antibiotic free. Field results show that this is not a mission impossible, but it is not an easy task. For that reason poultry health specialists keep on searching for alternatives which may have the same disease and or infection suppressing characteristics as antibiotics have.
Recently I had the privilege to attend a meeting where a young and entrepreneurial German company presented their experiences with a number of herbal products. The input of a few independent veterinarians and poultry specialists from several western European poultry companies made me quickly change my first reaction of: “Here we have one more company with a new fairytale on how successful herbs and spices can replace antibiotics”.
My doubts slowly faded away when the pharmacologist of the company explained that they use new technologies to purify extracts of the organic compounds, which makes their products different from most other herbal products. My curiosity grew when a present vet told that he successfully made use of some of the products and that one of Germany’s largest poultry companies replaced its antibiotic program for the herbal product presented. Unfortunately, the herbs company could not yet present official trial figures, which are essential in today’s business.
Since the meeting was about exchanging information and thoughts about how the company could enter the international market, the absence of scientific documentation, was noted and put on the to-do list of the company. It probably will take another year before these documents become available, but the first experiences and field results received from important players in the poultry industry indicates that soon there may be a possibility for poultry growers to use an organic substitute for antibiotics in their production process.
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