In common with many low- and middle-income countries, Colombia has seen sharp rises in livestock production in response to rapidly growing domestic demand for food of animal origins. While this 'livestock revolution' promises to enhance food security, reduce poverty, and improve rural livelihoods, there are also questions about its sustainability and wider implications for human and environmental health. Expanding livestock production is associated with a host of negative impacts on biodiversity, carbon emissions, water availability and quality.
As livestock numbers have risen globally, so too has the use of antibiotics and other veterinary medicines (VM) in animal husbandry. VM has been instrumental in reducing the global burden of livestock disease and delivering the productivity increases necessary to meet the rising demand for food globally, but the World Health Organization (2012) warns that the scale and nature of antibiotic usage in livestock production poses major risks to both human and animal health. As well as undermining food safety and environmental quality through residue contamination, the pervasive use of antibiotics in agriculture creates strong selective pressures favouring the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotic drugs used for treating disease. Such antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens to cast us back into the dark ages of medicine without effective antibiotic treatments.
Undertaken in partnership with:
Dr. Maria Escobar-Tello (CoI and lead researcher)
Dr. José Miguel Acosta-Barbosa (consulting veterinarian)
Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales
BPG Desarrollo Rural y Agronegocios S.A.S
Consejo Nacional de la Leche y Prevención de la Mastitis