Australian Feedlot Industry Steps Up Commitment to Antimicrobial Stewardship

  • Australia’s cattle feedlot industry cements its position as a global leader on antimicrobial stewardship

  • The feedlot industry guidelines will become mandatory for all lot feeder operators from January 2022

  • The Australian cattle feedlot industry was one of the first to release stewardship guidelines in 2018


The Australian cattle feedlot industry has stepped up its commitment to antimicrobial stewardship by announcing that its world leading antimicrobial guidelines will become mandatory from January 2022.


The move is a significant milestone undertaken to further elevate Australia’s position as global leaders when it comes to antimicrobial stewardship and the commitment to responsible use of antimicrobials.


Australian Lot Feeders' Association (ALFA) President, Bryce Camm, said the industry was proud to continue its stewardship journey by formalising the guidelines as being mandatory from 2022.


“The emergence of antimicrobial resistance is a relatively new global frontier but one that the Australian red meat and livestock industry recognised some time ago, when in 2018 Australia’s feedlot industry became one of the first in the world to launch formal guidelines to minimise the risks around resistance.


“In any new process implementing new practices can take time, however, with two out of three feedlot operators voluntarily adopting the guidelines we felt it was the right time to move towards getting 100% participation.

From 1 January 2022 the guidelines will become an auditable requirement of the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS); the cattle feedlot industry’s critical oversight and compliance program independently managed by AUS-MEAT, Australia’s leading agricultural auditing and certification body.


Mr Camm said that with most feedlots having taken up the guidelines voluntarily the decision to include them within the NFAS ensures that all feedlot operators across Australia will operate and comply with a stewardship plan, and this will be assessed through independent annual audits conducted by AUS-MEAT.


“Stewardship is a key action industry can take to preserve the efficacy of these medicines and help prevent the emergence of resistance and importantly ensure we can continue to access these important tools into the future.

Mr Camm said that while Australia was already recognised for having the highest quality beef in the world, incorporating the guidelines into NFAS would further underpin confidence in our product while also helping livestock producers and lot feeders manage the health and welfare of cattle.


“In addition to promoting the adoption of stewardship practices, the industry supports improved monitoring of use and surveillance of resistance to help inform policy and practice which is part of the broader strategy to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance,” Mr Camm said.


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Media contact:

Christian Mulders, CEO, Australian Lot Feeders’ Association

M: (02) 9290 3700

E: christian.mulders@feedlots.com.au



Background


In 2015, the Australian Government released Australia’s First National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2015–2019. It was closely aligned with the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance and provided a national framework for a coordinated cross-sectoral response to the risk of antimicrobial resistance.


In response, the cattle feedlot industry identified antimicrobial stewardship as one of six priority areas for industry to work on in the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework in 2017.


At the same time, the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association, and Meat & Livestock Australia invested grain fed levies to develop the Antimicrobial stewardship guidelines for the Australian cattle feedlot industry.


The Antimicrobial stewardship guidelines provide a continuous improvement framework that help lot feeders understand and continue to ensure appropriate use of antimicrobials and therefore reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance. At its core the guidelines involve five stewardship principles which are collectively termed the ‘5Rs’ - responsibility, review, reduce, refine and replace.


The Guidelines are being included as a requirement of the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS) which has been in operation in the Australian feedlot industry for over 25 years. The NFAS was the first Quality Assurance program to be developed for Australian agriculture and is independently managed by AUS-MEAT.


Australian feedlot operators responded positively with 62% of all NFAS audited feedlots indicating in 2021 that they had voluntarily adopted an Antimicrobial Stewardship Plan within their operations, up from 59% in 2020 and 39% in 2019.


With the endorsement of AUS-MEAT and the NFAS Feedlot Industry Accreditation Committee earlier this year the NFAS rules and standards have been updated and the Antimicrobial Stewardship Guidelines will become an auditable requirement of the Scheme from 1 January 2022.


The guidelines were developed by a consortium of leading veterinarians and scientists. Dr. Stephen Page, Advanced Veterinary Therapeutics, is a world leader in promoting Veterinary Antimicrobial Stewardship principles to veterinary industries. Professor Darren Trott, Professor of Veterinary Microbiology with the University of Adelaide has worked across humans, companion animals and production animals to understand best practice use of antimicrobials. Industry Veterinarian Dr. Kev Sullivan, Bell Veterinary Services, was instrumental in ensuring the guidelines were fit for purpose in the Australian context.


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