Industry Focus

Antimicrobial Stewardship

Antimicrobial stewardship in Australian pork producing businesses

….“As little as possible, as much as necessary” .…

Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) is the practice of using antimicrobial treatments in the appropriate way to secure their use and efficacy for the future. To reduce selection pressures favouring resistant organisms, the way forward is to optimise herd management, nutrition, environment, air quality, hygiene and early disease detection and hence reduce the overall amounts of antimicrobials used. Along with other livestock industries, the Australian pork industry has developed an AMS plan.

Visit the Australian Veterinary Association website to access the Antimicrobial prescribing guidelines for pigs.

For more information on AMS, visit Animal Health Australia’s website.

Antimicrobials are compounds that include the antibiotics (made by living microorganisms), their synthetic cousins and compounds such as zinc oxide that, on application to living tissue or given to a patient, will selectively kill, or prevent or inhibit growth of susceptible organisms.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious global threat to both human and animal health. Locally and globally there is close examination of animal production practices that might contribute to the transfer of AMR to human pathogens and the effects that interventions to reduce antibiotic use in food-producing animals might have on the level of AMR organisms in humans and animals. The evidence suggests that many of the AMR problems in human medicine are not related to AMR in animals. Nonetheless, it is reasonable that antimicrobial use should only be implemented when necessary.

Regulatory guidance in Australia is provided by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). The APVMA is responsible for the registration of chemicals and veterinary medicines in animal production. Registered veterinarians are permitted to prescribe a medication for pigs if it is approved by the APVMA for use in pigs or in other food animals. Antimicrobials considered by the World Health Organisation as critically important (colistin, fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins) have not been registered for pigs. Hence vets are not permitted to prescribe them for pigs.

The foundations of disease prevention rest with sound biosecurity, vaccines, good management, excellent hygiene and air quality and well-trained staff.

Australian Pork Limited is committed to ensuring the safety, quality and nutritional value of pork. Our focus on keeping our pigs healthy is at the forefront of the work we do and one that producers share with the community.