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Ireland launches code for antimicrobial use

A Code of Good Practice regarding the responsible use of antimicrobials on poultry farms has been launched in Ireland. The goal of the new code aims to promote and safeguard animal health and welfare for the benefit of consumers, producers, the economy and wider society.
These guidelines aim to support Irish poultry farmers to achieve “the highest international standards of flock health and welfare”. Photo: gpointstudio
These guidelines aim to support Irish poultry farmers to achieve “the highest international standards of flock health and welfare”. Photo: gpointstudio

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most serious global public health challenges which threatens to undo a century of progress in human medicine, according to Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue.

A reference point for poultry farmers

The strategies outlined in this code of practice will serve as a reference point for poultry farmers as they work to reduce their overall use of antibiotics and to improve their flock health, he added.

Prevention is better than cure 

“Actions taken by the poultry sector to improve animal health, and prevent disease, are key to reducing the use of antibiotics, and effectively tackling AMR. The principles and actions contained in this Code align well with a number of government policies including Ireland’s National Biosecurity Strategy, Ireland’s Animal Welfare Strategy and Ireland’s National Farmed Animal Health Strategy, with one of its key enabling principles being ‘Prevention is Better than Cure’.”

International standards 

Minister of State, Martin Heydon, added that these guidelines will support Irish poultry farmers to achieve “the highest international standards of flock health and welfare”.

Antimicrobial stewardship needs constant attention
Fluroquinolone resistance in campylobacter is currently at moderate levels across the UK, despite not being used in broiler meat production for the best part of 8 years. Further studies on the impact of antibiotic reduction strategies and how they impact the resistance of important organisms are needed. Read more...

According to the Irish government, a European Centre for Disease Control/European Medicines Agency 2009 report estimated that, in 2007, drug-resistant bacteria were responsible for about 25,000 human deaths per annum in the EU alone, with associated healthcare costs and productivity losses of € 1.5 billion.

Ireland’s National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance 2017-2020 is available here.