NZ Farmers Defend Responsible Use Of Antibiotics

NEW ZEALAND - Federated Farmers is asking Sue Kedgley, Green Party MP to apologise for comments in April, relating to the use of antibiotics in agriculture. This comes after a Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) survey showed no human health implications from antibiotic resistance in New Zealand food-producing animals or fresh produce.
calendar icon 23 June 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

“Sue Kedgley made some serious claims in April relating to the use of antibiotics in agriculture,” says Don Nicolson, Federated Farmers President speaking on behalf of John Hartnell, the Federation’s food safety spokesperson.

“As a Member of Parliament, she has a responsibility to make certain any comments she makes are accurate. Food safety is simply no place for politicking or scaremongering.

“Her comments in April had potential to impact New Zealand’s reputation as a quality food exporter. It also directly affects people’s livelihood and indirectly affects the livelihoods of thousands of New Zealanders. This is serious, serious stuff she needs to be aware of.

“MAF’s public health principal adviser, Dr Donald Campbell, has confirmed that farmers are responsibly using antibiotics under veterinarian guidance.

“MAF has just released a year-long survey covering 2009-2010 that I quote, “focused on antimicrobial resistance to important and commonly used antibiotics among E. Coli, Enterococcus, Campylobacter and Salmonella bacteria found in freshly dressed carcasses of calves, pigs and broiler poultry from New Zealand abattoirs and processing plants."

“Although the survey detected some bacterial resistance to some antibiotics, this resistance has no direct human health implication.

“Ms Kedgley gave the false impression that farmers were using antibiotics with abandon and that’s also wrong. The latest statistics show that 11.25 per cent fewer antibiotics were used on-farm in the 2008/9 season than in 2005/6.

“Dr Campbell has also concluded that there’s been no increase in resistance found in food-producing animals in New Zealand.

“I personally think Ms Kedgley owes agriculture an apology,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

To see what Ms Kedgley said see here.

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