WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2016 - The outlook for antibiotics resistance in animals and humans and the roles agriculture and the livestock feed industry will play in the related challenges and advances will get a thorough look in Washington, D.C., this week at a forum of experts early Wednesday and in broader summit later Wednesday and on Thursday.

Wednesday morning’s forum at the National Press Club, with a live audiocast, will examine an array of issues in animal health and antibiotics, now a critical topic with the looming implementation of the Food and Drug Administration’s animal antibiotics guidance to drug makers, plus its 2015 Veterinary Feed Directive. Those FDA actions spell new label restrictions for delivering medically important antibiotics in the feed and water of farm animals along with prescriptions from veterinarians for such drug uses.

Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council, notes that some producers and food companies are already implementing the new FDA directives. That’s true especially in the chicken meat sector, she says, where the typical life span of fryers, about 42 days, makes raising the birds without antibiotics less challenging than with other livestock.

By about mid-year, she says, producers will start seeing “transitional labels” that announce the January 2017 deadline for complying with the stricter uses of medically important antibiotics, then new label language on all such antibiotics by year’s end.

At the Wednesday-Thursday summit at Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, the Farm Foundation will first brief the livestock and feed industries, researchers, veterinarians, regulators and others on the feedback and views gathered in 13 workshops around the country last year that focused on the new FDA directives, as well as expected challenges and implementation ideas.

Then, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges will discuss their report, Addressing Antibiotic Resistance, on the crucial ways the universities can best help advance a national strategy for education, research and outreach to livestock and feed producers to improve animal antibiotics and their wise use.

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The joint task force of APLU and AAVMC says its report adopts a perspective of “One Health,” with agriculture and animal health professionals “as full partners with the human medical community in a truly or fully integrated national action plan.”

Wagstrom says the One Health concept recognizes that the environment, human health, animal health and farming are all interwoven in the use of antibiotics, so “it’s entirely appropriate that they take that approach.” Also, she stressed that the extension services, not just research, must remain a big part of the universities’ goals if their work on antibiotics is going to help producers meet some of the challenges that await.”