For agriculture and industry

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) can be a problem for agriculture and food production. AMR infections in animals can be a risk to humans through contact and in the food chain. Industries are improving antimicrobial surveillance and stewardship to help tackle AMR.

    What you can do

    1. Not all sick animals need antibiotics – only use them under veterinary supervision.
    2. Australia is a world leader in minimising antibiotic use in farm animals – help us keep this high standard.
    3. Apply best practice biosecurity and hygiene measures to reduce the need for antibiotics.
    4. Spread the word that people and animals could die because of antibiotic resistance — we all have a role to play.
    • Use infection prevention and control practices by separating sick animals and good animal husbandry to control infections on farm.
    • Use farm biosecurity planning resources to identify major infectious risks and manage these risks to reduce the need to use antibiotics. Available resources include:
    • Only use antibiotics prescribed by a veterinarian.
    • Keep to the dosage, treatment and withholding period as directed by your veterinarian.
    • Refer to the Australian Veterinary Association fact sheet about the safe handling of animals being treated with antibiotics (PDF, 111KB).
    • Consult your veterinarian for further information.
    • Understand that not all sick animals need antibiotics.
    • Refer to the combined Australian Veterinary Association and Animal Medicines Australia’s fact sheets about the responsible and judicious use of antibiotics in companion animals, and livestock and horses.

    How does AMR affect the food animal sector?

    • In many cases overseas, it is incorrect use of antimicrobials for food production that cause AMR. 
    • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) may grow in the Australian food animal sector if we do not improve how the food animal sector uses antimicrobials.
    • AMR can kill animals and people.

    What role do food animals play in AMR?

    • AMR infections can move between flocks and herds due to animals and objects that may be carrying bacteria, for example manure.
    • AMR can spread into the environment through water, grass, animal housing and human waste that may contact resistant bacteria. 
    • Resistant bacteria may also transfer to animals and humans from the environment. It can also move between animals and people if they share the same environment. 
    • AMR infections in food-producing animals may pose a risk to human health through foods, but this needs further research.

    How does AMR affect my business? 

    Businesses could be more competitive if they have less reliance on antimicrobials and low rates of AMR.

    AMR infections in food animals can affect business as they:

    • increase the cost of disease control
    • endanger animal health and welfare
    • reduce the overall performance of affected flocks and herds
    • allow resistant bacteria to transfer to people who come in contact with them, and vice versa.

    What is the current status of AMR in Australian agriculture?

    • Australia is a world leader in minimising the use of antibiotics in food animals.
    • Surveys done in Australia in recent years show a low risk of AMR in the food animal sector. 
    • Maintaining Australia’s low risk of AMR in food animals provides many welfare, health and economic benefits.
    • The health, agriculture and food sectors all benefit from maintaining Australia’s low risk of AMR in the food animal sector.
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