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Source: Feedstuffs magazine

The use of antimicrobials in animals across the world has shown an overall decrease of 27% between 2016 and 2018, according to the data reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE).

Similar progress has been found in the use of antibiotics for growth promotion. For long a common way to enhance productivity in animals raised for human consumption, the use of antibiotics in healthy animals to boost growth is no longer a practice in nearly 70% of the reporting countries.

"In a world that is more globalized and interconnected than ever before, this is a positive step forward as it shows that a growing number of farmers, animal owners and animal health professionals worldwide are adapting their practices to use antimicrobials more prudently," said Dr. Monique Eloit, director general of the World Organization for Animal Health. "These efforts contribute to protecting everyone's health. But much more needs to be done to preserve our therapeutic options and overcome the spread of infectious diseases."

Antimicrobial drugs, such as antibiotics, rank amongst humanity's most spectacular achievements. They paved the way to better living conditions for humans and animals. Yet many of these life-saving drugs are losing their efficacy against numerous microbes. The phenomenon is known as "antimicrobial resistance".

Partially a natural process, antimicrobial resistance can be greatly accelerated by the overuse or misuse of antimicrobials, which the WOAH explains can exert selective pressure for pathogens with resistance traits to survive and thrive. These "superbugs" can then travel through waterways, soil and air.

"Antimicrobial resistance is a silent threat to humans, animals, plants and the environment. It affects us all," the organization noted.

For decades, experts have warned that antimicrobial resistance was a threat for future generations. Now it is time to further accelerate actions against this phenomenon which has already become a leading cause of death in humans, according to the report.

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