A report, “When Antibiotics Stop Working” by the Ontario Medical Association has called on the government to impose stricter guidelines with regard to the use of antibiotics in farm animals in order to address the issue of antibiotic resistance in humans, while there is still time.
According to the new infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria are becoming more frequent and difficult to treat, resulting in serious illness and even death. Ontario’s doctors warn that the over-use of these crucial medicines weakens their ability to save human lives; we call on federal and provincial governments to immediately enact regulatory changes that will help to reverse this threat by reducing the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
It is important that everyone who has access to antibiotics shift perspectives and begin to use them as responsibly and prudently as possible. Using antibiotics more carefully, for example, means closing the loophole that allows farmers to feed these medications to their livestock without prescriptions simply to promote growth.
Among the recommendations:
- Develop a system for farm industry surveillance to keep track of the identities and quantities of antibiotics being purchased, and those being moved into or out of Ontario. Currently, surveillance of antibiotic movement does not exist in the province;
- A veterinary prescription-only standard of access to antibiotics for animals must be instituted;
- Amend the Food and Drugs Act and its Regulations to close the loophole allowing farmers to import antibiotics for their own use.
For a copy of the report