What are farmers doing about it?

The chicken industry has developed a Responsible Antimicrobial Use (AMU) Strategy that involves reduction, surveillance, education and research and has eliminated the preventive use of Category I and II antibiotics. Surveillance has demonstrated the success of this strategy. Chicken Farmers of Canada is now focusing on a non-regulatory approach to further reducing antimicrobial use, with specific attention on reducing the preventive use of Category III antimicrobials.

Canada’s chicken farmers, and indeed the entire chicken industry, are working closely together to better understand the chicken immune system and to investigate antibiotic alternatives. We have proactively implemented a sector-wide strategy to control, monitor and reduce antimicrobial use while working alongside industry and government partners to safeguard poultry health and welfare. The continued availability of antimicrobials, and their subsequent responsible use, is important to safeguard poultry health and welfare.

Canadian chicken farmers implement a mandatory On-Farm Food Safety Program (OFFSP) to standardize food safety production practices, and receive an annual audit to verify compliance. A part of that program includes a reporting form that is sent with every flock to processing. Canadian Food Inspection Agency veterinarians verify these reports to determine that antibiotics were used as per their label or with a veterinary prescription and that the antibiotics are being used at the appropriate dosage for the appropriate application. Any product failing this investigation is not allowed on the market.

Farmers are also actively involved in funding research examining antimicrobial resistance and alternatives to antibiotic use.

Chicken Farmers of Canada is working with the Canadian Integrated Program for Antibiotic Resistance Surveillance (CIPARS) of the Public Health Agency of Canada to conduct on-farm surveillance to monitor antibiotic resistance and use. CIPARS has demonstrated reductions in antimicrobial use and resistance, and has pointed to CFC’s Responsible AMU Strategy as a major factor for this reduction.