22 May 1998

Antibiotic ban a poultry headache

ANTIBIOTIC growth enhancers are likely to be banned for use in poultry rations, with serious consequences for producers.

So warned poultry vet Daniel Parker. "We probably have to accept that growth enhancers and possibly the therapeutic antibiotic fluroquinolone group are likely to be banned for use in animals."

In the short term, Mr Parker believed this would increase clostridial disease, and would have significant welfare implications from the production of poorer litter quality, increased hock and foot burns and a rise in coccidiosis. "Feed conversion rations and growth will be worse, and there will also be an increase in use of therapeutic antibiotics."

Over the medium term, he forecast clostridial and other bacterial vaccines would be developed to help reduce disease challenge, while probiotics and other dietary enhancers would become an increasingly important part of rations. Feed production would also improve, he added.