LETHBRIDGE - Health Canada is introducing important changes, which will affect the way anti-biotics can be accessed by cattle producers.
As of Dec. 1, 2018, all livestock producers will need a prescription from a licenced veterinarian, before they can buy a medically important antibiotic (MIA) for therapeutic use in livestock production.
The Health Canada changes stem from increasing concern about the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in bacteria, not only in humans but, animals as well.
According to the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) the new regulation will apply to all beef cattle sectors using antibiotics — cow-calf operators, feedlots and feed-mills (and really all sectors of animal agriculture including beef, dairy, hogs, sheep, horses, fish and even bees).
Producers who are used to picking up penicillin or tetracycline at the local farm supply store to treat common infections, will no longer be able to do so. As well, some common products traditionally available without a prescription through farm and feed supply outlets will require a prescription, starting in December.
The final distribution system in Alberta is still being reviewed.
The BCRC points out that having an established Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) will ensure a smooth transition to the new regulation.
While the new regulation adds another step in the care of animals, Craig Dornin, a veterinarian in Airdrie, believes it is the right thing to do for an industry that produces food.
"It is important that antibiotics used in food animals have an appropriate level of regulation."
A recent BCRC publication noted reports from the United State and the United Kingdom, which estimate 50,000 people die annually due to issues related to antimicrobial resistance. Computer models project that more than 10-Million people globally could die from antimicrobial resistance by 2050.
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