For a long time antibiotics have been used in poultry and egg production but there is considerable consumer/ regulatory pressure, price pressure and technical reasons why the administration of antibiotics on a routine basis needs to be phased out of these production systems.
The development of resistance in target and non-target organisms is just one reason why antibiotics will be removed. For exporting companies we may see trade barriers erected to products that have been produced with antibiotics to prevent spread of resistance determinants. The puzzle now is how to produce poultry meat and eggs without antibiotics on our current farms.
Many innovations in poultry management have had profound effects on the health of modern flocks. The implementation of biosecurity has massively decreased the movement of most pathogens except those with airborne and/or vertical transmission. The airborne infections are still particularly a problem in areas of high poultry density. The attention to the elimination of vertically transmitted infections by breeding companies has given producers at the commercial level the option of pathogen freedom. The implementation of single age sites and all-in, all-out programmes, improved building construction, cleaning and disinfection have all been significant steps. The development of vaccines has allowed disease to be controlled where the infection could not be controlled. If the vaccine completely stops field strain infection this will have further advantages.
Moorland Trading Estate
4 Fitzwilliam Terrace
Republic of Ireland