“Antibiotics not a substitute for hygiene measures”

6205702903 4f042209aa zMohan Saxena, managing director at animal health and nutrition company, Ayurvet, speaks to Far Eastern Agriculture about the need for antibiotic replacement in the livestock industry at VIV Asia 2017

Speaking about the dangers of rampant usage of antibiotics in the industry Saxena pointed out that while antibiotics has proven useful in fighting diseases in the history of medicine, the unfortunate part is that these life saving drugs have been used misused as a license to avoid the health and hygiene in poultry farms.

Another consequence of over dosage of antibiotics is antibiotic resistance. Saxena said, “Bacteria have the capability to develop resistance and as a result, we find that the same antibiotic is no longer effective on human beings. The WHO has recently released a list of 12 superbugs that are resistant to every antibiotic and those 12 bacteria are present in all parts of South-East Asia. The bigger question is, how do you protect human health from these super bug infections? This issue of antibiotic resistance is therefore one of grave importance. Some countries in Europe, North America, Japan have restricted antibiotic usage. South East Asia is now waking up to the realisation that the use of antibiotic for growth promotion, as a substitute for hygiene is not a good idea.”

“I see a lot of talk about antibiotic free chicken production, antibiotic free milk production, antibiotic free eggs and there comes, yes, it is a god sign but a lot more needs to be done. If it is not without any validation, people will burn their fingers and they will be forced to use antibiotic again and they will find that they are resistant. So the economic loses of this antibiotic resistance is quite huge and therefore the economy depends on three indexes: health which has to come through nutrition, hygiene which is indispensable and awareness. That is what we have been advocating in this VIV exhibition. How you can build health, immunity because health and immunity translates into productivity and profit.

Saxena also pointed out that there is no one single step to reduce dependence on antibiotics. “Ultimately, it is a combination of nutrition, good hygiene, good health to build up immunity. And feed additives can play a major role in acheiving this,” he added.

Saxena explained how a mistake that farmers and veterinarians often make is that they use these additives for disease control instead of for building up health of the animals. "So if the farm birds are faced with a respiratory problem, you will have to use antibiotics to reduce the mortality. But mortality will not take care of the losses so you have to find a solution to ensure that the problem does not recur. The solution is to aim for a high health index."

Ayurvet provides a wide portfolio of herbal health-care and nutrition/feed products for the livestock industry.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
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