Antibiotic sales are rising on Canadian farms, report finds

Canada saw an increase in the sales of antibiotics for use in food production animals in 2020, according to a report released this week by the Canadian government.

Data from the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance and Surveillance (CIPARS) show that the overall sales of antibiotics intended for use in production animals (food animals and horses) rose by 6.5% from 2019 to 2020, and by 7.5% when accounting for the number of animals and their weights (animal biomass). The increase was primarily driven by increased sales of antibiotics for use in beef cattle, pigs, and veal calves, as sales of antibiotics for use in poultry and aquaculture declined and sales of antibiotics for dairy cattle, horses, dogs, and cats remained stable.

The report notes that, after adjusting for the underlying biomass, there were approximately 1.8 times more antibiotics sold for use in production animals than for people.

Antimicrobial resistance surveillance on Canadian farms revealed a mixed picture. In poultry and grower-finisher pigs, the trend in resistance to three or more antibiotic classes declined in Escherichia coli, and Salmonella and Campylobacter from pigs also showed lower rates of multidrug resistance. But resistance to ciprofloxacin continued to rise in Campylobacter from broiler chickens and healthy feedlot cattle.

CIPARS also detected colistin-resistant E coli and Salmonella isolates from three surveillance sources.

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