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Vets play key role in judicious use of antimicrobials

Veterinarians play key role in judicious use of antimicrobials following McDonald’s announcement on use of antibiotics in supply-chain

Friday 6 March 2015

Yesterday fast food restaurant McDonald’s announced that it will only source animals raised without antibiotics that are important to human health, highlighting the key role veterinarians play in judicious use of antimicrobials to combat the rise of antimicrobial resistant bacteria.

New Zealand is a world leader in the prudent and highly regulated use of antimicrobials. Antibiotics used in animals are regulated by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and are registered for use for the treatment of animal disease. Antibiotics play a vital role in keeping animals healthy and protecting their welfare. In both pets and livestock, these products treat and control infections that threaten life and productivity, providing significant benefit to both the animals receiving treatment and the people looking after them. New Zealand is different to some overseas countries, in that antibiotics are not permitted to be used for the purpose of growth promotion here.

Access to antibiotics is restricted in New Zealand and are only available after veterinary consultation and prescription.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) is a strong advocate for the prudent use of these medicines and we see ourselves as having a stewardship role to play. Antimicrobial usage should always be part of an integrated disease control programme, not a replacement for one and should include attention to hygiene, disinfection procedures, biosecurity measures, changes in stocking rates and vaccination across companion and farm animals.

Dr Dennis Scott, Chair of the New Zealand Veterinary Association Anti-microbial Resistance Working Group says: “Antimicrobial resistance is a key priority for the NZVA and we are working alongside MPI and other industry partners to develop a national strategy to address this global concern.”

“We recognise that use of antimicrobial medicines for treating disease in humans and animals has seen major improvements in human and animal health, and in quality of life, for over more than half a century. They must continue to effectively treat bacterial infections as they are critical in guarding and supporting the health and welfare of humans and animals. All veterinarians have a role to play in ensuring the careful use of antimicrobials so that they will remain effective for treating infections.”

ENDS

About the NZVA
The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) is the only membership association representing New Zealand veterinarians. With over 2000 members we are the leading voice for veterinarians working in all disciplines where animals, humans and the environment intersect. Our work ensures our members’ contribution to the country's economy and international status, food safety and animal health and welfare is of the highest quality, recognised and valued.

NZVA policy on Judicious Use of Antimicrobials

http://www.nzva.org.nz/policies/2e-judicious-use-antimicrobials

Animal and human health has always been interlinked and bacteria that are resistant to drug therapy can be passed from animals to humans, and vice versa. Therefore veterinarians and human health physicians have an obligation to continue to work together on this key issue.

About antimicrobials

Antimicrobials is the general term that covers anti-bacterials (commonly known as antibiotics), anti-virals, anti-fungals and anti-protozoals.


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