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Poultry Conference Shows How to Reduce Antibiotic Use

Poultry producers are under increasing pressure to reduce antibiotic use – and an international conference in Birmingham is set to show them how.

“Poultry farmers are being pushed to reduce antibiotic usage, and yet they are still expected to produce high welfare, healthy birds in a very short time and at very low cost,” says Richard Turner, partner at St David’s Poultry Team, which is organising the event. “That is extremely difficult to do, and requires a very holistic approach to farm management. We are bringing together five experts in the field of antibiotic use, from across the globe, to help take the UK industry forward.”

Richard Ducatelle, Professor of Veterinary Pathology at Ghent University, Belgium, will be explaining the interaction of microbes in the gut, while Colin Hill, Professor of Microbial Food Safety at the University of Cork, Ireland, will reveal research into natural solutions to bacterial infections.

Dr Stephen Collett, Clinical Professor at the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Centre, University of Georgia, US, founded the Seed, Weed and Feed principle to reduce antibiotic use in poultry, and will explain how to put it into practice on farm. And Dr Linnea Newman, Technical Director of Poultry at Merck, US, will show how farmers in the US are removing coccidiostats from feed without a negative impact on gut health.

“Although there is no evidence of resistance to coccidiostats, and they are not used in humans, there is still this pressure to reduce their use,” says Mr Turner. “If you just stop using them then gut health will collapse, so you need to find other ways to prop it up. We need to be having grown-up conversations throughout the supply chain about antibiotic use, to avoid knee-jerk reactions that will be seriously detrimental to animal health.”

However, planned correctly and with the right support, farmers can produce commercial chickens without routine antibiotics or coccidiostats, as Luiz Demattê, Director at Korin Agropecuária Ltd, Brazil, will explain. “This conference takes us through from the science and theory into the on-farm practice,” says Mr Turner. “Antibiotic use is an incredibly important issue and we will be welcoming leading supermarkets, processors and farmers to join the discussion to see how we can take the issue ahead.”

St Davidʼs 2016 Poultry Conference Antibiotic Reduction: The Next Step – will be held on 16th March at the National Motorcycle Museum, NCC, Birmingham. For more information or to book tickets, call 01392 872932 or email Media are welcome to attend – please register with St David’s Poultry Team on 01392 872932.

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