Its One Health plan has been put together by Minnesota's Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Board of Animal Health, Pollution Control Agency and Department of Human Services. The overarching mission of the effort is to promote judicious use and antibiotic stewardship while limiting the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
However, to reach the goal of protecting the use of antibiotics for the future and being mindful of antibiotic resistance, changes cannot be made to only one sector, said Nicole Neeser, director of the dairy and meat inspection division of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, who worked on the plan.
“Antibiotic resistance is a complex, multi-factorial problem,” she told FeedNavigator. “Any efforts, if they are to be successful, need to consider all of those factors. Agriculture, human health and the environment all have a role to play and as such, also need to [be] a part of the solution.”
Antibiotic use in feed
About 80% of the antibiotics used annually in the US are thought to be used in animal feed or production according to a report by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy.
That amounts to about 8,000 tons a year and is anticipated to expand to 10,500 tons by 2030.
Globally, animal consumption of antibiotics was estimated to have reached 63,200 tons in 2010 – roughly two-thirds of the antibiotic’s produced annually. By 2030 the amount is expected to be 105,600 tons.
In-feed, agricultural use
Antibiotics will continue to be an important tool for animal producers to use, because they will always need a way to address sick livestock, said Neeser.
“Maintaining these tools are critical for animal welfare – without these, animals will suffer,” she said. “The future may hold a more controlled approach to use of these tools, but maintaining their availability is critical.”
However, she said, veterinarians and livestock producers do have a role in promoting and using good antibiotic stewardship practices. “Healthy animals are in everyone's best interest, especially the farmer,” she added.
“Making good decisions about antibiotic use on farms helps preserve these drugs for use in both humans and animals,” she said.
Some production animals have started to test positive for multi-drug resistant bacteria, the group said. In 2013, according to information from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, 29% of turkey, 9% of chicken, 18% of pigs and 17% of beef cattle non-typhoidal Salmonella isolates were resistant to three or more antibiotics.
“The main misconception is that farmers use these drugs indiscriminately,” said Neeser. “Farmers are generally very conscientious about how they use these drugs – they cost money and farmers also need to be profitable.”
Within the plan, goals established for farmers include working with others to improve use and management of antibiotics to treat infection.
The project includes a tie-up with a national objective to collect data on antibiotic use in livestock; certifying or supporting best usage practices; and building the capacity of a veterinary diagnostic laboratory. A series of steps has been established to reach end goals as the plan is set to be implemented over time.
“The project is currently working to secure additional funding resources, and to start implementing some of the action items,” said Neeser. “Specifically for animals this involves outreach on the Veterinary Feed Directive changes coming, as well as renewed efforts in promoting stewardship and residue prevention with producers and veterinarians.”
“This is a five-year plan, with the first focusing on identifying resources and beginning these efforts,” she added.