Canada, U.S. Align on Antibiotic Issue

Apr 14, 2014

Canada to Phase out Antibiotic Growth Promoters Use in Livestock

By Amanda Brodhagen,

Health Canada announced that it plans to phase out the use of antibiotic growth promoters in livestock.  A notice was sent to industry stakeholders on Thursday. The phase out is expected to take three years.

The new policy would remove growth promotion of antimicrobial drugs and strengthen veterinary oversight.

It appears as though Canada is following the U.S. lead on antibiotics. Similar measures are being implemented in the U.S., including a three year transition period. Canada’s strategy is to “align with the extent possible” with U.S. policy with respect to antibiotic use in livestock. This position was stated in the release.  The move signals that countries like Canada and the U.S. are bowing to growing pressures to curb antibiotic use in agriculture.

According to the Canadian Animal Health Institute, antibiotics will only be used under the direction of a veterinarian to treat a specific disease issue. The institute represents companies that supply antibiotics to Canadian farmers.  Currently, about 90 per cent of the medication used in agriculture is for growth promotion or to prevent disease and infection. Going forward, antibiotic use will be limited to only treating infections.

The health agency says it will work with all parties involved throughout the implementation process.

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