Official US studies help reduce antimicrobial use in pigs and cattle


By Brenda Dionisi, GlobalMeatNews



New data from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will help guide US animal health officials in ensuring livestock producers use antimicrobials in a more judicious way, said this federal government agency.


The data, released last month (May 2019), gave the latest benchmark for swine sites and cattle rearers on antimicrobial use in US feedlots and swine operations.


Based on two detailed national studies conducted in 2016, the analysis showed how and why antimicrobials were used in feedlots and swine operations, before a major policy change took effect on 1 January 2017, which limited their use to promote animal growth. Veterinary oversight is now required when using medically important antimicrobials in animal feed or water.


Kelly Fogarty, of the United States Cattlemen’s Association, told GlobalMeatNews​ that the US cattle industry was continuing to respond and remain proactive when using antibiotics in domestic herds. “Through strict guidelines, US beef remains the safest in the world,”​ he said.


The first study assessed antimicrobial use at 378 cattle feedlots with a capacity of 50-99 head.


At that time, 87.5% of feedlots gave antimicrobials in feed, water or by injection (the latter mainly for cattle at high risk of disease).


Furthermore, antimicrobials were given in feed at about 70% of feedlots to prevent, control or treat respiratory disease, to prevent or treat coccidiosis and to promote growth. Meanwhile, a majority of feedlots (80%) routinely called on the services of a veterinarian and most of them (about 85%) had a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR).


Meanwhile, the study...