Livestock production (now joined by crops and environmental factors) continue to be under intense scrutiny under the FAO-OIE-WHO Tripartite Partnership and pressure is mounting for greater regulation of antimicrobials at all levels. Until now the private sector mostly has been left outside the public sector Tripartite collaborations on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
The OIE held its 2nd Global Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance and Prudent Use of Antimicrobial Agents in Animals from 29 to 31 October 2018 in Marrakesh. The theme was “Putting Standards into Practice.” Peter Bradnock participated on behalf of the International Poultry Council (IPC) and was a member of a panel of five speakers representing international livestock and fish farming industries on the topic, “Driving private sector engagement in the global response to antimicrobial resistance.”
Over 500 delegates, attended from OIE member countries and from the other Tripartite members – FAO and WHO (including Codex Alimentarius) - and other international organisations, universities and the pharmaceutical industry. Several Ministers of agriculture from African, European, and Asian countries participated.
There were some positive acknowledgements of actions being taken by private sector livestock organisations. The poultry sector was praised for the approach and progress being made by industries in Europe, Canada, and South Africa. Speakers cited the US Chain Reaction reports charting the antimicrobial use policies of the major US fast food chains, which put poultry meat production well ahead of other meat proteins in respect of behaviour change and responsible use of antimicrobials. However, there were also presentations highlighting problems of lack of AMR awareness by small-scale farmers in many countries, lack of veterinary capacity and professional advice on this topic to small scale farmers, and the dangers of counterfeit veterinary products.
The conference made 20 recommendations. Recommendations most directly relevant to IPC include:
- For the Tripartite to further strengthen international collaboration and coordination, for surveillance and monitoring of AMR and antimicrobial use in different sectors and support implementation of standards and guidelines related to responsible and prudent use of antimicrobial agents in animals in partnership with relevant professional organisations.
- For OIE to consider the sub-division of the OIE List of Antimicrobials of Veterinary Importance in the different animal species, and the expansion of the List to include over time, antiparasitic agents of veterinary importance such as anthelmintics, insecticidal and acaricidal.
- For OIE to work with Animal Food Production sectors and institutions such as World Veterinary Association and related professional bodies for supporting the development of species-specific treatment guidelines to be used at sub-regional and national level and the establishment of a global repository of existing clinical treatment guidelines and tools.
- For National Governments to follow the recommendations in the OIE List, in particular regarding restrictions on the use of fluoroquinolones, third and fourth generation cephalosporins and colistin, and to phase out the use of antibiotics as growth promoters, in the absence of risk analysis, giving priority to the classes in the WHO category of Highest Priority Critically Important Antimicrobials.
- For National Governments to promote strong collaboration between the public and private sector, in particular veterinarians, veterinarians paraprofessionals, and farmers in order to implement the principles of good animal health/husbandry practices including biosecurity measures to reduce the need for antimicrobials and take steps to ensure that, when their use is unavoidable, they are used in a responsible and prudent manner in accordance with the relevant international standards, including Chapter 6.10 of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code and Chapter 6.2 of the Aquatic Animal Health Code.
The IPC best practice guidance on responsible use of antibiotics in the poultry sector, presently being produced, is a visible and practical translation of the stewardship principles already agreed and published by IPC. It will be vital that they are taken up by all producers.
IPC can expect and should embrace calls for a more inclusive public/private sector partnership at international and national level, and IPC and its Members need to demonstrate leadership in actively promoting responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials within the global poultry sector.