important drugs averages about 3 percent—a 97 percent reduction of medically important drug use.
To achieve a treatment rate of 3 percent, a very thoughtful biosecurity animal
health plan is necessary to prevent illness. Management practices including vaccination, nutrition, hygiene, and housing are all vital to biosecurity.
The U.S. broiler business has undergone a rapid paradigm shift toward NAE production, from 3 percent in 2014 to 48 percent in 2018. This transition has involved
changes in farm management, different approaches to coccidiosis control, changes in
vaccination programs, experimentation with non-antibiotic alternatives, and changes
in ration formulation and ingredient selection. There have been no magic bullets,
and there have certainly been setbacks as integrators continue to seek a successful
path to controlled production cost, flock performance, and food safety.
Progress in the EU
In 2017, the European Commission launched a European Union (EU) “One
Health” Action Plan to bring down antibiotic-resistance issues with three objectives:
1. Making the EU a best-practice region
2. Boosting research, development, and innovation
3. Shaping the global agenda
A concept developed in the early 2000s, One Health espouses the idea that hu-
man health and animal health are interdependent and bound to the health of the
ecosystems in which they exist. This concept is envisaged and implemented by the
World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a collaborative global approach to
understanding risks for human and animal health (both domestic animals and wild-
life) and ecosystem health as a whole. The OIE builds upon the intergovernmental
standards that it publishes and the worldwide information on animal health that it
collects, as well as its network of international experts and programs for strengthen-
ing national veterinary services. Moreover, it collaborates synergistically with more
than 70 other international organizations, particularly those that play a key role in
the human-animal-ecosystem interface.
Between 2011 and 2015, sales of antibiotics in veterinary medicine fell 13 percent. There are differences in the use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine between
member states of the EU. There is an opportunity for a structured responsible-prac-tice program in the EU marketplace and globally, and that’s what One Health hopes
In 2012, the government of France started a comprehensive initiative for veterinary use in livestock, farm animals, and pets, including all stakeholders of the animal
chain—farmers, producers, pharmacists, and veterinarians, as well as consumers and
pet owners. One of the goals was to bring down use of antibiotics by 25 percent in
5 years. This initiative was a remarkable success, as from 2012 to 2016, there was an
average reduction of almost 37 percent of animal exposure to antibiotics, including a
78 percent reduction in the use of fluoroquinolones and an 81 percent reduction in
the use of newer-generation cephalosporins. Both classes of antibiotics are critically
important for human health. Among poultry, the reduction of animal exposure to
antibiotics was 42. 8 percent.
In the Netherlands, the prophylactic use of antibiotics hasn’t been allowed since
2012. AVINED, a working group composed of Dutch farmers’ organizations, the
egg industry, veterinary organizations, feed manufacturers, and the slaughter and
processing industry dedicated to the poultry sector, was formed in 2008. Its action
plan included registration of antibiotics, one farmer/one veterinarian, annual
health and treatment plans, and measures on critical antibiotics for public
Quite impressively, between 2009
and 2017, there was a 74 percent reduction in the use of antibiotics in broilers (from 36.8% to 9.4% defined daily
dose/animal on a national level) and
a 96 percent reduction in the use of
fluoroquinolones and third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins.
In the UK, internal antibiotic stewardship groups were formed to help
modify individual company policies,
cascaded down from the British Poultry
Council (BPC) Antibiotic Stewardship.
The goals of the Antibiotic Stewardship program can be described in
three words: replace, reduce, and refine.
Its guiding principles are to review and
replace antibiotics used where effective
alternatives are available, carry out risk
assessments, look for ways to reduce the
number of birds receiving treatment,
and continue to refine existing strategies
using data collection.
As part of its clinical governance approach, any use of a critically important
antibiotic, such as fluoroquinolones or
macrolides, is reported in detail to the
BPC, including the case history and
outcome of the treatment.
The results have been encouraging,
with an 82 percent reduction in the to-
tal use of antibiotics from 2012 to 2017,
• 93 percent reduction in the use of
• 91 percent reduction in the use of
• 76 percent reduction in the use of
• 60 percent reduction in the use of
In addition, fluoroquinolones and
macrolides are used only as a last resort;
the use of third- and fourth-generation
“…One Health espouses the idea that human health and animal health are
interdependent and bound to the health of the ecosystems in which they exist.”