NIAA and Antibiotics Stewardship

NIAA and Antibiotics Stewardship

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Antibiotics, when used properly, keep humans and animals healthy. 

The national institute for animal agriculture shows us how the nation's pig farmers practice good stewardship.

Farmers and ranchers spend each day giving their animals proper nutrition, shelter and care. But when animals get sick, they call the veterinarian.

Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian with the National Pork Producers Council, says veterinarians care for animals in the same way that doctors care for patients. Sometimes they must rely on antibiotics to relieve suffering.

Wagstrom stated "We have veterinarians having the responsibility to write an order or a prescription when medically important antibiotics are used by farmers. The veterinarian has that judgment to say an animal is sick; they need to have antibiotics."

Liz Wagstrom states A lot of the human resistance problems that are seen in hospitals, are probably unrelated to agriculture. It's everybody's shared responsibility, whether it's a medical doctor and their patients or whether it's a veterinarian and producers to do everything we can to minimize the development of resistance or the spread of resistance. 

I think there's some misunderstandings about the role that agriculture may play in the bigger picture of antibiotic resistance. But whether that role is small or big, we need to do everything we can to take care of our responsibility in our part we can play."

To promote good stewardship on pig farms, more than 70,000 farmers and personnel have completed an educational program called Pork Quality Assurance Plus which includes training materials, on-farm assessments and some third-party audits to promote the best care and responsible antibiotics practices.

Liz Wagstrom: "The principles include things like doing everything to reduce the need to use antibiotics. So take the best care of our pigs, use our best facilities, our best care-taking options to reduce that need to use antibiotics. If we need to use them, make sure they're used under veterinary oversight.

The national institute for animal agriculture will host their 9th annual antibiotic symposium October 15th through the 17that Iowa state University in Ames.

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