One Health – What Affects One, Will Affect the Others

There is no price guarantee in the poultry & livestock sector whether it is for inputs like raw materials, chicks, or other farm inputs or output prices like milk, egg, chicken, etc. But with better awareness and stringent regulations, it is mandatory to produce safe and nutritious food at affordable prices. Think Grain Think Feed connected with Dr Vijay Makhija, an expert with more than 2 decades of experience, to understand the role of INFAH in ensuring the production of safe animal-origin food.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified AMR as one of the top 10 global health threats, with estimates suggesting that 4.9 million deaths were associated with AMR in 2019. What Indian poultry & livestock industry doing to cope with this issue?
The Indian livestock sector has made great progress in achieving efficiencies. Genetic Improvement, Nutrition programs, and Managemental practices have resulted in minimizing the use of antibiotics. We have seen a strong focus on the prevention of diseases by virtue of the usage of vaccines, biosecurity products & adoption of diagnostic tools. A significant improvement is observed in productivity levels of eggs & chicken in India, & animal health has played a significant role in making this possible.

There is an increasing awareness among consumers towards food safety. The poultry farmers are implementing the latest technologies and the judicious use of antibacterials and implementing withdrawal periods.

Digital technologies (E.g., Livestock Monitoring) shall play a significant role in the early detection of diseases & this way further minimizing the usage of Antibiotics in coming times.

Would you please update our readers on regulations that are introduced with the intervention of INFAH?
The government of India has implemented a few stringent regulations to minimize the use of antibiotics including enforcement of schedule H1 categorization for all antibiotics, restriction on animal use of critically important antibiotics like Colistin, etc. There have been ongoing efforts from organizations like ICMR, and ICAR on disease surveillance and to create a comprehensive database on the prevalence of AMR.

INFAH facilitates the successful implementation of mentioning the withdrawal period in all products meant for food animals within a short period after the DCGI notification in 2012. There is a need to create more awareness for the compliance of the same by all concerned so as to drug residue-free milk, meat, and eggs.

INFAH has been supporting the ONE HEALTH approach & actively participating with scientists, institutes & organizations like IVRI. FAO, DAHD, FSSAI, IAAVR to create awareness for the judicious use of antibiotics. With the increased awareness within the concerned departments and consistent efforts of INFAH, a separate veterinary division was established at CDSCO in the year 2018 for the regulation of veterinary drugs & biologicals. INFAH is closely working with the authorities for formulating specific regulatory processes & guidelines applicable to animal healthcare products.

The National Action Plan is based on ONE HEALTH, which is the need of the hour. Regular vaccination of food-producing animals would reduce the frequency of incidences of diseases & thereby use of antibiotics. INFAH has been recognized as a key stakeholder in contributing inputs toward synthesis of National Action Plan 2.0 (2022-2026)

AMR Containment & Way Forward
Communications/Awareness campaign
Awareness campaigns for farmers need to be focused on balanced nutrition, disease prevention through vaccination, and biosecurity measures. Preventive measures even in single farms can be placed in the context of national benefits like disease control, poverty alleviation, containment of AMR, etc.

Awareness campaigns for veterinary professionals can be aimed at food safety, prevention & control of zoonotic diseases, and prudent use of antibiotics in the context of preserving their efficacy for future use.

Strict adherence to withdrawal periods to ensure consumer safety arising from drug residues of foods of animal origin.

Capacity Building
Infrastructure development as well as diagnostic facilities.
Continuous training & advisories for Veterinary professionals on Antibiotics usage.

Establish a forum for interaction at regular intervals between the Human and Veterinary associations at the regional level to catalyze the concept and trickle down to clinicians at the local level.

Please share the role of the Indian Animal industry in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Animal Health has a significant role in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs). The need for continuous improvement in the sustainability of livestock production necessitates better health for animals. Disease & sick animals have the potential to increase livestock emissions and the general environmental footprint of animals. Sick animals need more feed and water, while animals lost to disease means more livestock ultimately must be raised to maintain food supplies, which increases the emissions related to production. Animal health has a role in addressing the challenges of feeding the world and protecting the climate.

Healthy animals can contribute to SDGs:

  • Protecting animal health can grow economies and lift hundreds of millions out of poverty. Healthy Animals contribute to the farmers’ income thus contributing towards SDG#1 No Poverty.
  • With our population rising, we must feed more people in the coming decade than ever before. Fewer animals lost to disease means less food waste and more milk, meat, and eggs available for our tables. Food produced from animals is affordable, accessible & wholesome & it has the potential to contribute towards SDG#2 addressing zero hunger & assuring nutrition security for our nation.
  • Healthier livestock means healthier people. It reduces the risk of zoonotic disease transfer and the development of antimicrobial resistance, while livestock helps us to ensure that we have animal protein that can reduce malnutrition. Animal proteins serve as one of the great sources of proteins & contribute towards SDG# 3 good health & wellbeing.
  • Sick animals may lead to an increase in the amount of emission of greenhouse gases & have an adverse impact on the environment. Healthier animals have a smaller environmental footprint, and animal health is necessary for sustainable livestock production, thus contributing towards SDG# 12 Responsible Consumption & Production & SDG# 13 Climate Action.