Project Director Cassava: Adding Value for Africa Phase II (CAVA II), Prof. Kolawole Adebayo has warned against the misuse of antibiotics in livestock, saying it can also make humans resistant to drugs.
The food and agriculture industry is relying on antibiotics to secure the supply of food and income to farmers. However, the use of antibiotics for food production has been a major driver of antibiotic resistance, which is threatening food security.
Adebayo explained that antibiotics residue in animals could affect humans who eventually consume the animals.
He said: “The situation is worsened when there is indiscriminate and incorrect use of antibiotics; each antibiotic has a period to spend in the animal before it is safe to eat by humans.When animals are sold for human consumption before it is safe to do so, the antibiotic will continue in the human blood stream. That could be dangerous.”
He stressed the need for responsible use of antibiotics by farmers in animals to reduce the emergence of antibiotic resistance.
According to experts, antibiotic resistance in animal is not only threatening animal health, but also affects human health.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that overuse of antibiotics in animals is contributing to growing drug resistance in humans with serious health implications.
WHO warned that farmers must be prevented from using powerful antibiotics on animals reared for food, because of the serious risks to human health.
New guidelines from the global body advised farmers to stop using any antibiotics routinely to promote growth and prevent disease in animals that are otherwise healthy, a common practice in some parts of the world, including Asia and the US. Such routine use is banned in Europe, though campaigners fear the rules are sometimes flouted.
WHO reported that in some countries, as much as 80 per cent of antibiotic use is on farm animals. Even in some countries where routine use for enhancing growth is banned, more antibiotics are used on animals than on humans. This recommendation is likely to be unpopular with farmers, who could risk financial loss, but it is crucial to protect human health, according to the WHO, because the use of such antibiotics in animals is leading to increased resistance even to last-resort medicines, to the despair of doctors. However, the WHO has no power to enforce its guidelines, which are up to national governments to accept or reject.