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Inconsistent antibiotic categorisation puts Canadian livestock, poultry at disadvantage

17 January 2019, at 12:00a.m.

CANADA - The Executive Director of Alberta Chicken Producers said inconsistencies in how different countries categorise antibiotics put Canada's livestock and poultry producers at a competitive disadvantage

As of 1 December 2018 all medically important antimicrobials used in veterinary medicine in Canada are sold by prescription only.

Alberta Chicken Producers Executive Director Karen Kirkwood told those on hand last week for a Swine Innovation Porc forum, held in conjunction with the Banff Pork Seminar, while Canada's antibiotic policy changes compliment what chicken farmers are already doing we need to be comparing apples with apples.

Ms Kirkwood said, "Canada is quite often compared to the European Union but in fact we have very different rules that govern antibiotic use in Canada.

"In the European Union ionophores, which are category four antibiotics are not considered antimicrobials and they're actually considered feed additives while in North America they're considered antimicrobials.

"There is a significant difference and this does need to be addressed at a federal and an international level.

"Another major difference is with respect to Backtracking.

"Backtracking is categorised differently between the US and Canada and this can create inequity between how the product can be used and a competitive disadvantage for Canada because Backtracking is categorised as being important for human medicine in Canada while it's not in the US.

"This is another important aspect of having a successful reduction strategy, ensuring that we've got equivalent standards in place among jurisdictions and access to alternative products in our market."

Ms Kirkwood says Canada's chicken farmers are very committed to this issue and have been for a number of years.

She says dealing with antibiotic use is an ongoing journey and Canada's chicken farmers are highly supportive of antibiotic use reduction.

As reported by Bruce Cochrane for Farmscape.ca