UFA brings antimicrobial regulation concerns to the Legislature
On April 19, 2018 the Honourable Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, along with the Chief Provincial Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Lehman, met with representatives from the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) Commercial Agribusiness and Government Relations teams to discuss the new federal regulatory changes in regards to dispensing antimicrobial medicines.
As of December 1, 2018, all Medically Important Antimicrobials (MIAs) used in livestock production will be sold by veterinary prescription only.
Antimicrobial drugs like antibiotics are important to fight bacterial infections in humans and animals. The responsible use of MIAs is therefore intended to preserve their effectiveness and minimize the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The directive from Health Canada is part of a worldwide awareness of and response to antibiotic resistance issues that aim to:
- Ensure antibiotics are used appropriately in animal agriculture to avoid or slow the development of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. As a result, currently available antibiotics will remain effective for a longer period of time.
- Strengthen public trust by demonstrating responsibility and appropriate use; showing the products are only used when needed, at the appropriate dose and duration, and observing proper withdrawal times.
"UFA supports veterinarian oversight and tighter controls to reduce antimicrobial resistance issues including valid prescriptions and strong vet-client relationships," said Rob Giguere, Vice President Commercial Agribusiness for UFA. "However, our co-operative has concerns with the provincially controlled model of restricting the dispensing of antimicrobial medications to only veterinarians as it will limit access for producers, allow for potential conflicts of interest, raise animal welfare concerns, reduce price competition, and ultimately increase the cost of medication to producers."
Livestock commodity organizations are aligned with UFA regarding the concern over these regulatory changes.
"We are grateful to both Minister Carlier and Dr. Lehman for meeting with us and hearing our concerns," said Brett Yeske, Director, Product Strategy, UFA Commercial Operations. "We will continue with our advocacy efforts and work towards reaching a solution that aligns with regulations and protocols."
For more information on how the new regulations will impact you, including a comprehensive list of cattle products containing antibiotics that will require a veterinary prescription in Canada as of December 1, 2018, please click here.