Drivers of antibiotic use in semi-intensive poultry farms: Evidence from a survey in Senegal
Antimicrobial resistance, the capacity of microbial pathogens to survive in the presence of antimicrobials, is considered one of the greatest threats to human health worldwide and is growing rapidly in importance.
Antimicrobial resistance is thought to be driven in part by the use of antimicrobials in livestock production.
Reduction of antimicrobial use in agriculture is therefore important, but doing so may endanger farmers’ incomes and hamper broader food security.
Understanding the drivers of farmers’ antibiotics use is essential for designing interventions which avoid harming agricultural output and to safeguard farmers’ economic security.
To shed more light on this salient topic, scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Ministry of Livestock and Animal Products, Senegal, the University of Copenhagen and the United Kingdom Health Security Agency analysed survey data from poultry farmers in Senegal to explore the effects of vaccination, attitudes towards antimicrobial resistance, and biosecurity practices on antimicrobial use, animal mortality and farm productivity.
The study is published in the February 2023 issue of the journal Antibiotics.
The study found that farmers with more ‘antimicrobial resistance-aware’ attitudes may be less likely to use antibiotics in healthy birds. Stronger on-farm biosecurity was associated with less use of antibiotics in healthy birds, and in some specifications was linked to higher broiler productivity.
Vaccination and antimicrobial use were both higher in farms with a higher disease prevalence, and both factors appeared conducive to higher broiler productivity.
Overall, there is evidence that awareness raising and biosecurity improvements could encourage prudent use of antibiotics, and that biosecurity and vaccination could to some extent replace antibiotic use as productivity-enhancing and disease management tools in broiler farms.
Finally, issues of farm antimicrobial stewardship must be considered at the structural level, with farm behaviours contingent on interaction with state and private stakeholders.
Emes, E., Faye, A., Naylor, N., Belay, D., Ngom, B., Fall, A.G., Knight, G. and Dione, M. 2023. Drivers of antibiotic use in semi-intensive poultry farms: Evidence from a survey in Senegal. Antibiotics 12(3): 460.
Photo credit: Peri-urban poultry production in Thiès, Senegal (photo credit: ILRI/Pape Faye)