German study examines antibiotic use levels in livestock

Photo Credit: Andy L. Photo Credit: Andy L.

A current project out of Germany called VetCAb (Veterinary Consumption of Antibiotics) is examining the total amount of antibiotics used in livestock farming. The study hopes to not only quantify current use of antibiotics, but also to provide suggestions on ways to decrease their use in livestock farming because it can lead to resistance in bacteria. VetCAb researchers have collected information from animal production sites documenting the types of antibiotics used, and prescription and administration frequency for different types of animals. Researchers determined, for example, that in the course of fattening a pig over 115 days, pigs are treated with an antimicrobial agent every 4.2 days on average. A follow-up study is currently being developed to examine future trends in antibiotic use.