Firms like Andrew Maskery Associates integral in livestock antibiotic usage reduction
The latest UK Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance Report showed that UK livestock producers reduced their use of antibiotics by more than half between 2014 and 2018 as the war on antimicrobial resistance continues.
The report showed that sales of antibiotics fell by 53 per cent during the four-year period, with the use of highest priority critically important antibiotics down by a staggering 66 per cent.
Between 2017 and 2018, antibiotic sales as a whole were down by nine per cent, with high priority purchases down by 18 per cent.
The British Veterinary Association has heaped praise on joint efforts to promote responsible antibiotic use as a central cause of the reduction in usage, after vets, farmers and the livestock industry campaigned in response to the growth in antibiotic resistance both in animals and humans.
As part of the campaign, a large emphasis was placed on reducing antibiotic use in livestock production through disease prevention on farms. Andrew Maskery Associates is a firm specialised in exactly that, through its involvement in the retail and distribution of B2B animal health and biosecurity solutions.
Andrew Maskery, the managing director of the Suffolk based business, wrote about how disease prevention has become 'a priority for the UK livestock industry' in the war on antimicrobial resistance.
Maskery wrote: “How individual farm businesses, their suppliers and the food chain manage animal health and welfare will be fundamental to future economic success and market security”, crediting farmers for their appreciation of how improving “management and basic hygiene can benefit herd and flock health and reduce medication use”.
He said: “Preventing disease entering premises and reducing the risk of infection transfer from one area of the production system to another must be the cornerstone of any health programme, while maintaining a good health status requires a proactive, holistic and often collaborative approach to achieve the best outcome.”
Maskery also feels that the UK’s efforts to reduce antibiotic consumption has created 'opportunities in the animal health trade', which his firm has capitalised on.
One of the central products that Maskery’s firm has delivered is a '15-week biopack', which it has been rolling out to BQP, the UK’s largest pig producer, over the last seven years. The product is geared toward improving management and hygiene on farms and having been a success with BQP, may now be extended to other businesses.
Maskery notes how the packs “contain everything required to cleanse and thoroughly disinfect all accommodation, equipment and handling facilities” for young pigs before the next batch of animals moves in. The packs have proven to be a convenient and cost-effective option for disease prevention.
Maskery went on to quote BQP’s Pig Production Director, Howard Revell, as saying: “Andrew Maskery Associates’ support developing this initiative has been integral to the success of our antibiotic reduction programme and the improved results we’re achieving in terms of finishing herd health and performance.
“The combination of stringent biosecurity and inter-batch cleaning and disinfection, along with other techniques, including vaccination and herd repopulation, are the bases of our very successful pig health programme.”
Junior vice-president of the British Veterinary Association, James Russell, believes that programmes like BQP’s will be vital in maintaining momentum against the threat of antibiotic resistance.
Russell, said: “While it is vital that we continue to build upon these achievements through evidence-based, sector-specific targets to further refine, reduce or replace antibiotic use, a large part of the future changes will involve promoting high animal health and welfare through disease prevention strategies, such as increasing uptake in vaccines.
“Ongoing improvements in veterinary-led health planning on farms will also help to further lower antibiotic use by reducing the incidence of endemic diseases.”
For successful programmes such as this to continue fighting against antimicrobial resistance, firms like Andrew Maskery Associates have a critical role to play.
Maskery also revealed some of his own expectations for the future of disease prevention, hinting that it is likely to go beyond livestock production and become further integrated into the production and processing of meat products as a 'standardised approach.'
He said: “A more standardised approach to livestock production and health management is emerging”, adding that it has “already been seen in the pig, poultry and diary industries”.