Online course launched to raise awareness of livestock production issues

The University of Reading is offering a new online animal science course to raise awareness of livestock production issues, especially antimicrobial resistance.

The course, titled ‘Contemporary Issues in Animal Science’, is described as an easily accessible way for anybody working with livestock, at any point in the supply chain, to develop their understanding of animal science and its role in modern global livestock production systems.

Those choosing to study will learn that the issue of responsible antibiotic use extends beyond livestock to humans.

Dr Rachael Neal, course tutor at the University of Reading, said: “A major review on antimicrobial resistance published in 2015highlighted that of the 41 antibiotics that are approved for food producing animals by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA, 31 are categorised as being medically important for human use.

“It is, therefore, imperative to reduce dependency on, and use of, antibiotics globally in order to both secure the food chain and maintain effective treatments for both humans and animals.”

Dr Neal said the global use of antibiotics for growth promotion in pig and poultry production is contributing to the building threat of antibiotic ineffectiveness for both animals and humans when they are most needed to treat disease.

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