The best and only effective way to reduce the use of antimicrobial drugs in livestock farming and rearing is to prevent infection.
To this end, it is recommended, among other things, to set up integrated breeding systems, to monitor pathogens and their susceptibility at herd level, as well as to use preventive vaccinations, to reduce herd density and to take care of animal welfare in a broad sense. This boils down to ensuring their hygiene and well-being, so providing appropriately sized, clean and lighted enclosures with ventilation and fresh air runs. It is also necessary to ensure that there are separate areas with unrestricted access to high-quality feed and water and to prevent stressful situations for the animals, which can weaken their immune systems and increase their susceptibility to infection. Above all, however, it is necessary to maintain bio-security on the farm. This involves limiting access to the animals by members of the public, using separate clothing and footwear for each individual unit, providing hygiene measures for employees working around the herd, and quickly removing and isolating dead or sick animals.
Good standards in cattle breeding not only mean that antibiotic resistance can be prevented, but also that animals are more productive, treatment costs are lower and food is safer.