This project is taking an interdisciplinary approach to studying the impacts of feedlot production on antimicrobial usage and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in beef cattle.
Working with partners in Argentina and funded by the BBSRC, it is also focusing on feedlot impacted environments.
The research will investigate this single livestock system as an exemplar, including the impacts of cattle breeding and rearing systems. It will also consider the effects of specific interventions such as; the reduction of use of antibiotics as growth promoters; cessation of metaphylaxis at the point of recruitment to the feedlot; and vaccination.
It is estimated that by 2050 AMR infections will be the leading cause of death globally with a total economic cost of $100 trillion, with the overwhelming burden placed on low and middle-income countries (see the O’Neill report, 2016 for more details).
Antimicrobial use in livestock is an important driver of AMR in animals and is associated with resistance in the clinical setting, with a recent review attributing 24% of AMR in humans to antimicrobial use in animals.
Agriculture’s share of global antibiotic consumption is high and rising, as the demand for animal protein increases, especially in low and middle-income countries. Without considering the important role that the farmed and natural environment plays in contributing to the overall burden of AMR infection, and taking steps to reduce environmental AMR, efforts in other sectors may not prevent the post-antibiotic era that threatens modern medicine.
Our aim is to produce a “blueprint” for an integrated surveillance, analysis, interpretation, modelling and policy translation approach that can be used for any livestock system in any low or middle-income country.
This plan will facilitate decision making, implementation of incentives and inform new policies to reduce antimicrobial usage, AMR and risks to human health.