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18 Nov 2019 - Handle antimicrobials with care

We all have a role to play

This year again, VikingGenetics is joining the campaign to raise awareness of the use of antibiotics.

Each November, the World Health Organization (WHO) organises World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) with the aim of increasing global awareness of antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

Since their discovery, antibiotics have served as a cornerstone of modern medicine. However, the persistent overuse and misuse of antibiotics in human and animal health care have encouraged the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance, which occurs when microbes, such as bacteria, become resistant to the drugs used to treat them.

At VikingGenetics, we understand the importance of reducing the use of antibiotics in dairy farming and we play an active role in continuing to breed for the healthiest and most productive cattle in the world. This philosophy is reflected yet again in the figures for the sales in mg per PCU (Population Correction Unit) of veterinary antimicrobial agents marketed for food producing animals, published in the latest report by the European Medicines Agency, European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption “Sales of veterinary antimicrobial agents in 31 European countries in 2017”.  According to EMA, Sweden, Finland and Denmark are the EU countries with the lowest use of antibiotics in livestock, far ahead of other countries.

The amount of veterinary antimicrobial agents sold in the different countries is a factor linked to the animal demographics in each country. PCU is the term used to estimate animal populations in individual countries. In other words, it is an animal biomass estimate based on the number of animals where 1 PCU equals 1 kg of live animal weight. All figures are stated in milligram (mg) of veterinary antimicrobials purchased for every kilogram (kg) of livestock biomass. This enables comparisons of the use of antibiotics in different countries. The graph below includes the EU member states that have > 215,000 tonnes PCU for Cattle. Sales in mg/PCU are weighted according to the proportion of cattle to all food-producing animals in each country.
The VikingGenetics solution VikingDefence™, plays a key role in helping dairy farmers to reduce antibiotics use in their herds. VikingDefence is a  solution that combines all the health traits that we have been breeding for in the Nordic countries for decades. Our bulls have been selected to breed high producing and healthy cows. They breed daughters with a natural defence against diseases.
Read more about World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) at the WHO website
Lowest use of antibiotics

Sweden - again the EU member state with the lowest use of antibiotics in food producing animals

As a country, Sweden has once again reported the lowest use of antibiotics for food producing animals. Antibiotics use in Sweden is nearly eight times lower than the average level for 31 European countries. Antibiotics for purely growth-enhancing purposes were banned in Sweden in 1986 and within the EU in 2006. Such use is still allowed many other countries however. 

Average sales in mg/PCU (Population Correction Unit) of veterinary antimicrobial agents marketed for food-producing animals weighted by the proportion of cattle in each country are 33.8 mg/PCU for 31 European countries. The corresponding figure for Sweden is 4.3 mg/PCU. 

There are also big differences between countries when it comes to the rules that apply for how antibiotics may be used. Medication of whole animal groups is very common in many countries. In Sweden, Denmark and Finland, antibiotics are dispensed to farmers by vets as medicine use prescriptions. 

UK farmers among lowest users of antibiotics

VikingGenetics welcomes the progress that the United Kingdom has made in its fight against the extensive use of antibiotics for food producing animals. The UK is among the five top performing countries in the European Union with the lowest use of antibiotics. 

Via a five-year national action plan, the UK has taken important steps towards reaching the goal of reducing Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) which has a strong focus on infection prevention and control. 
Via our subsidiary company VikingGenetics UK, we have been part of this challenge and support dairy farmers in finding sustainable solutions to accomplish this general goal.  We will continue to support the UK market with our VikingDefence™ solution which has been widely accepted by the most progressive dairy farmers in the United Kingdom. 
Antibiotics use in UK
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