Reducing Antimicrobial Use and Dependence in Livestock Production Systems: A Social and Economic Sciences Perspective on an Interdisciplinary Approach

Fanny Baudoin, Henk Hogeveen, Erwin Wauters*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: In livestock production, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is considered an externality as it is the undesired result of preventive and curative antimicrobial use. To address this biosocial issue, our objective is to present an approach based on interdisciplinary research to develop strategies and policies that aim to contain AMR. Method: To do so, we addressed three fundamental questions on which control policies and strategies for agricultural pollution problems are centered in the light of AMR. To ensure the technical, economic, behavioral and political feasibility of the developed measures, we demonstrated the usefulness of systemic approaches to define who, what and how to target by considering the complexity in which the ultimate decision-maker is embedded. We then define how voluntary or compulsory behavioral change can be achieved via five routes, introducing a clear taxonomy for AMR Interventions. Finally, we present three criteria for ex-ante analysis and ex-post evaluation of policies and strategies. Conclusion: Interdisciplinary systemic approaches enable the development of AMR policies and strategies that are technically, politically, economically and, last but not least, behaviorally feasible by allowing the identification of (a) all actors influencing AMU in livestock production, (b) power relations between these actors, (c) adequate regulatory and intervention bases, (d) what behavioral change strategy to use, (e) whom should implement this, as well as the cost-effective assessment of combinations of interventions. Unfortunately, AMR policies and strategies are often investigated within different disciplines and not in a holistic and systemic way, which is why we advocate for more interdisciplinary work and discuss opportunities for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number584593
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • antimicrobial resistance
  • antimicrobial use
  • behavioral change
  • interdisciplinary research
  • livestock production
  • systems thinking

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