Suggestions for preventing overuse in livestock.
The overuse of antibiotics in both humans and livestock is a public-health concern in countries around the world, given the potential for increased resistance to the drugs, reducing their effectiveness over time. AmCham Taipei’s Public Health Committee has commended efforts by Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) in recent years to seek to prevent such overuse by tracking the sales of antibiotics for use in the livestock industry, especially those antibiotics that are considered medically important for humans.
The Committee is encouraging government consideration of some additional measures:
- Sharing the tracking data with interested parties by publishing it on a regular basis, perhaps monthly.
- Promoting the increased use of injectable antibiotics, which is regarded as one of the most effective ways to reduce antibiotic use in livestock. Only the sick animals are injected, whereas otherwise antibiotics are included in the animal feed overall.
- Differentiate in the regulatory process between antibiotics that are medically important to human health and other antibiotics. Those that are medically important for humans should be tested more frequently and more strictly, so as to prevent the over usage of these antimicrobials by livestock producers and thus protect them for human use.
At the same time, the complexity and frequency of tests for antibiotics that are not considered medically important could be reduced.
With these changes, the crucial role of antibiotics in healthcare can be more effectively safeguarded.