NZ ag/hort on track for reducing reliance on antibiotics

New Zealand agriculture continues to lead the way in its approach to antimicrobial resistance- one of the top ten global threats to human health.

Agriculture remains ahead of the game in the use of antibiotics, due to a concerted effort from vets, farmers, and industry.

Sales of veterinary and horticultural antibiotics in New Zealand have dropped by a massive 43 percent in the five years until 2022, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries.

“This demonstrates that our farmers and growers are adopting sustainable farming practices, including managing pests and diseases before antibiotics are needed,” says Animal and Plant Health NZ Chief Executive Liz Shackleton.

By identifying animal health issues earlier and treating them quickly and responsibly, we can decrease disease levels and, with it, the need for antibiotics. Practical examples include monitoring for diseases such as mastitis and vaccinating animals to help prevent animal diseases that can spread to humans, such as leptospirosis which can cause serious disease and even death.

Other important tools in the fight against antimicrobial resistance include maximising the long-term and preventative health benefits of vaccination, nutrition, biosecurity, disease surveillance, diagnostics, husbandry, and other animal health technologies.

Antibiotic resistance results in treatments for common bacterial diseases becoming ineffective.

“Reducing reliance on antibiotics is a shared responsibility across the agriculture, human health, and environment sectors, united in a One Health approach,” says Liz Shackleton.

Source: Animal and Plant Health NZ


Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog