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Feeding of macrolides to poultry endangers health

31 May 2005

Routine feeding of macrolides to poultry endangers health

It is disturbing that the Poultry Industry Association appears unaware of what antibiotics are being used in their industry, says Green Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley.

The Association has denied that the industry feeds the antibiotic Erythromycin to poultry.

"The Green Party never suggested that the poultry industry used Erythromycin. What we said was that they used an antibiotic, tylosine, which is part of a group of antibiotics known as macrolides, of which Erythromycin is a member," said Ms Kedgley.

"In 2002, 7.5 tonnes of macrolides and lincosamides were fed to poultry.

"Antibiotics are fed prophylactically to intensively farmed animals, because the unhealthy practice of cramming animals in as small a space as possible makes them particularly susceptible to disease.

"The Animal Remedies Board presented well-documented evidence that resistance to the macrolide group of antibiotics fed to animals leads to cross-resistance to macrolide antibiotics used in human medicine, which includes Erythromycin."

In 2001, the Animal Remedies Board recommended that macrolides be considered "essential antibiotics" and their use in animals be "limited to treatment of diseases in individual animals under the supervision of a veterinarian", Ms Kedgley says.


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