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Rational use  –  Food animals


This section provides tools and strategies for prudent antibiotic use in the animal sector.

Interventions to reduce antibiotic use in agriculture and food-producing animals may be at different levels; from restricting or minimizing use for certain indications (such as growth promotion or prophylactic use in animals and plants) to removal of the use of most or even all antibiotics. Efforts may also be focused on making sure use is as appropriate as possible, through introducing diagnostic methods and guidelines or through education and awareness raising. Improving animal husbandry, introducing or improving record keeping of antibiotic use, taking cultures and performing sensitivity testing prior to antibiotic use are some examples of possible areas to work in.

Close link to infection prevention

Rational use interventions are closely linked with efforts to improve infection prevention and biosecurity to reduce disease incidence, and thus the need for antibiotics. Read more in Prevent infection – Non-human.

Awareness and education

Awareness raising and education is important if rational use interventions shall be accepted and implemented properly. Passive educational strategies (such as posters and leaflets) are easier to implement but less effective compared with active strategies, such as one-on-one educational sessions addressing relevant topics. At farm level, it has been shown that increasing farmers’ awareness of good farming practices and biosecurity is important. See the RAISE AWARENESS focus area for more inspiration and materials for awareness raising and changing behaviors.

Evaluate impact of interventions

In MEASURE, you can access tools and resources to help determine the impact of interventions and conduct studies on a variety of topics that relates to rational use. Includes specific information for animal settings:

Resources below have been separated into the following tables:

Selected Resources

Tools and guidelines

Resource Description
Restricting the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals and its associations with antibiotic resistance in food-producing animals and human beings: a systematic review and meta-analysis Systematic review (open access) on the effect of interventions restricting antibiotic use in food animal production. Provides evidence that restricting use lowered the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the animals. The appendix lists all studies (2MB) included in the review and provides a quality assessment.
Keeping veterinary medicine records Guidance on how to keep veterinary medicine records. Includes an example format on record keeping (word document). Guidance for England, but can be used for inspiration/adapted for other contexts.
List of antimicrobial agents of veterinary importance (PDF) List developed by OIE including antimicrobial agents that are of veterinary importance.

Educational resources

Resource Description
Antimicrobial Resistance Learning Site for Veterinarians These open-source teaching modules are designed for integration into existing veterinary school courses regarding: Pharmacology, Microbiology, Public Health, and species-specific medicine.