The responsible use of antimicrobial medicines is not just an issue in the human health arena. Antimicrobials are also widely used for domestic animals and on fish farms and are even dusted on crops and fruit orchards to combat infections that affect animals and plants grown for food.
There are three simple steps farmers can take to make a major difference, he said, and although stronger infection prevention measures take some investment, cleaner farming can also yield better profits.
These steps include practicing good farm hygiene, getting veterinary advice before buying and using antimicrobials, and comparing notes with neighbours in order to spread best practices. He also underlined the role farmers must play in demanding quality animal feed without added antibiotics or other antimicrobials.
Top tips for good farm hygiene
- Clean stalls, coops, fish tanks, and farm equipment regularly to get rid of the germs that can make animals and people sick.
- Wash hands and boots thoroughly before and after contact with animals and change your clothes and shoes when working with livestock.
- Keep animal housing and outside areas clean and waste-free - clear manure and bedding often.
- Control who can come into contact with your animals and make sure they clean up before and after doing so.
- Practice the "all in, all out" approach. This means raising animals of the same age at the same time, and keeping these generations of animals together at all stages of production. This makes it easier to contain waste and clean farms when they are moved or sold.
- Keep feed dry and stored safely away from potential sources of germs like rodents.
- Keep animals dry and comfortable with plenty of space. Lowering animal stress reduces their risk of infection. So does feeding them well and making sure they have clean water.
- Vaccinate in consultation with your vet. Timing matters.
- Separate animals when they get sick to prevent disease spread, and seek veterinary advice right away to get the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Wednesday November 14, 2018/ FAO.