SLU news

Plenty of milk with low use of antibiotics

Published: 26 November 2020

SLU and FAO have jointly published a new report on how a high dairy productivity can be achieved with a low use of antibiotics.

The report Tackling antimicrobial use and resistance in dairy cattle: Lessons learned in Sweden is launched in connection to World Antimicrobial Awareness Week and has been produced in cooperation with Swedish experts from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), the Swedish Board of Agriculture, the National Veterinary Institute, the Swedish Veterinary Association, Växa Sverige, Gård- and Djurhälsan and the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation.

Key factors for the Swedish success highlighted in the report are:

  • The long-term perspective of the work for good animal health and welfare; for example, Sweden banned 1986 the incorporation of antibiotics into feed.
  • The close cooperation between animal farmers, veterinarians, universities, authorities and ministries. The initiatives come from those who work with these challenges on a daily basis, which later are being developed into appropriate regulations. In many other countries, the approach is the opposite with "top-down" regulation for the use of antibiotics.
  • Our focus on good animal welfare and disease prevention measures (without antibiotics). These measures significantly reduce the need for antibiotics. In many countries, substandard animal husbandry is masked by a routine administration of significant amounts of antibiotics to prevent diseases, which is a major risk factor for increased antibiotic resistance.

As the FAO now high-lights the Swedish success factors, governments, authorities and producers around the world can share our experiences and be inspired to keep their animals healthy without antibiotics, and Sweden has thus made a significant international effort to combat antibiotic resistance among animals and humans.

The report can be downloaded here: FAO. 2020. Tackling antimicrobial use and resistance in dairy cattle: Lessons learned in Sweden. Rome.