Within AVANT, different types of potential alternatives are developed and tested to replace antibiotics in pig production and treat bacterial diseases, such as post weaning diarrhoea. Are people familiar with those alternatives? Would farmers and veterinarians apply those alternatives in pig farms? What do consumers know about antibiotic resistance and would consumer be willing to pay more for pork meat produced with less antibiotics?
All those questions and more are included in a survey that was conducted to understand the level of acceptance of the AVANT solutions.
More than 2,300 veterinarians, pig farmers and consumers, participated in a 15-minutes phone interview, to answer questions associated with the risks of antibiotic use, antibiotic resistance and their impression about the potential AVANT alternatives. The survey was conducted in 5 European countries, all of them included in the list of top-10 pig producing countries across Europe (Spain, Germany, Denmark, France and Poland).
The interviewed farmers and veterinarians had longstanding experience (more than 20 years) in pork production. Consumers were equally divided over both genders (49% men, 51% women) and age categories. Over 90 % of the interviewed consumers also stated they eat meat including pork.
Awareness towards antibiotic resistance highlights the necessity for alternative solutions
More than 70% of the participants agree that antibiotic resistance is a public health problem and that it is needed to reduce antibiotics in animals. They are aware of the negative impact of antibiotic resistance on human health. Most of the participants would be willing to pay 10% more for meat produced with less antibiotics.
According to the survey results, the potential benefits of reduced antibiotics usage are healthier food products and safer environment, higher quality of animal and human health, as well as financial benefits for farmer, who would be able to sell their products more easily.
High acceptance and expectations of AVANT solutions
In comparison to existing biosecurity procedures, feeding strategies and probiotics are the most accepted AVANT solutions, followed by immunostimulants. The rest of the project solutions was seen as neutral.
Farmers and veterinarians were convinced about the safety of those solutions towards pigs and humans, the easiness to apply them in pig farms and their effectiveness to control of post-weaning diarrhoea.
Consumers are positive about buying meat that has been treated with one of the AVANT interventions and they agree that use of those interventions instead of antibiotics would improve the image of animal farming on their country.
The results of the survey have shown that:
- It is necessary to reduce the use of antibiotics in animal production, to prevent resistance in animals and humans.
- Solutions like those developed and tested in AVANT are highly accepted
- There is a clear market potential for these alternative solutions.
The coordinator of AVANT, Prof. Luca Guardabassi commenting the results mentioned that: “The AVANT survey helps the involved stakeholders to become more familiar with the solutions developed and tested in the project, including also their strengths and weaknesses. The differences in results between the 3 groups in the participating countries show the scepticism to apply those solutions in pig farms for meat production. The results will also support the farm trials at the latest stage of the project and our goal to bring some of those solutions closer to the market”
On behalf of the Federation of Veterinarians Europe (FVE), Jan Vaarten stated: “The results of the survey help to better understand the opinion of participants about the value and the limitations of alternatives for antibiotics. It is also encouraging that consumers understand that antibiotic resistance is an important public health problem and agree that use of antibiotics in animals has to go down. The results of the survey, regardless of differences among stakeholders in the involved countries, confirm that the AVANT approach and developed solutions are well accepted”
For more information about the results, check the survey report in the AVANT website: https://avant-project.eu/public-deliverables/
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