Banning antibiotics, reducing resistance, preventing and fighting infections : White paper on research enabling an 'antibiotic-free' animal husbandry

T.G. Kimman, M.A. Smits, B. Kemp, P. Wever, J. Verheijden

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


Resistance of bacteria to antibiotics in animal husbandry is increasing and a point of growing concern. The large use of antibiotics in agriculture undoubtedly leads to the development of antibiotic resistance. This has resulted in a growing public concern on the rise of antibiotic resistance, and in particular on the transmission of resistant bacteria and resistance markers from animals to humans. Large antibiotic use in animal husbandry and antibiotic resistance threatens the health and well being of man and animal through a diminished effectiveness of antibiotic treatments. It causes high costs of – unnecessary or ineffective – antibiotic treatments of animals, and it impairs the image and legitimacy of the intensive livestock sector resulting in a further decline of its societal support and the consumer’s demand for its products. Therefore, politicians and industry will have to make forward looking choices. In this White Paper we present work packages for research lines aimed at eliminating the systematic use of antibiotics in the animal production sector and therewith the emergence of, and selection for, antibiotic resistance. We consider it urgent that the animal husbandry will start producing antibiotic-free wherever and as much as possible. Such a development requires large changes in day-to-day practices, attitudes, and behaviour of all participating stakeholders in animal husbandry. Changes may be enabled by new technical solutions and a design of animal husbandry aimed at optimal disease prevention. It is an illusion that a simple solution will suffice to reduce antibiotic use in animal husbandry. Integrated, multidisciplinary and comprehensive approaches will be absolutely required to make progress. A “search-anddestroy” policy may further be necessary to combat remaining resistant bacteria after the use of antibacterials as selective force has been diminished.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen [etc.]
PublisherWageningen UR
Number of pages72
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • animal husbandry
  • intensive husbandry
  • antibiotics
  • animal health
  • public health
  • pig farming
  • cattle husbandry
  • poultry farming


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