Theme: People and the Community
Priority: Antimicrobial stewardship
Organisation: Australian Lot Feeders' Association (ALFA)
"Awareness of the guidelines is high, with a third of feedlots already having implemented stewardship plans. The next step is embedding them into practice."
In 2018, the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) launched the Antimicrobial stewardship guidelines for the Australian cattle feedlot industry(External link). The guidelines provide an industry-specific framework for the appropriate use of antimicrobials to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance and allow continued access to these important animal health tools.
“We are very proud of the product we have produced,” said Tess Herbert, immediate Past President of ALFA and Chair of the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework.
“Awareness of the guidelines is high, with a third of feedlots already having implemented stewardship plans. The next step is embedding them into practice.”
To support industry understanding of antimicrobial stewardship and increase uptake of the guidelines, ALFA has delivered a variety of extension activities in recent months.
A series of seven animal health and welfare workshops held around the country in March contained a session on antimicrobial stewardship. A two-part webinar was held in March and April to introduce the guidelines and provide lot feeders and associated industry professionals with practical information on antimicrobial resistance. The webinar was well supported with more than 100 people participating.
In May, an online learning module was launched which covers key aspects of antimicrobial stewardship including diagnosis, appropriate use and post-mortem inspection.
“Our industry is supported by highly skilled veterinarians and nutritionists, utilising this expertise to build capacity and understanding of strong stewardship practices is fundamental to the ongoing success and adoption of the guidelines,” said Tess.
“The guidelines will help demonstrate our industry’s commitment to best practice management use of antimicrobials and align with national and international initiatives to preserve the effectiveness of antimicrobials for people and animals.”
Kerwee Feedlot located on Queensland’s Darling Downs already has a strong philosophy of antimicrobial stewardship, according to Steve Martin, General Manager of Operations.
Kerwee used the tools supplied through the guidelines and the industry training to structure and guide implementation of the management plan, with the assistance of their vet. Developing the plan took less than a day. Following an internal audit against the plan, current practices were confirmed to be suitable with no changes required.
“Our plan focuses on promoting responsible use of antimicrobials, and increasing their efficiency when they are used, rather than reduction,” said Steve.
“We had staff attend the ALFA webinar and the workshops as ensuring the team can execute the plan in day-to-day operations is fundamental to the plan’s success.
“Participating in these training opportunities is in line with our company philosophy in supporting best practice antimicrobial use, and ensures that as a business we continue to operate in line with industry expectations.
“Customers are also demanding verification of best practice. Having a structured plan in place allows us to monitor welfare of livestock over time and contributes to the sustainability of the business long term.”
Antimicrobial stewardship is a shared responsibility, according to Steve.
“The entire supply chain should be striving for best practice antimicrobial use. Since implementing our AMS plan it has become more important that we promote best practice up and down the supply chain to ensure the ongoing success of this initiative.”
Categories: People & the community