The veterinary profession in New Zealand is reducing its reliance on antibiotic use in animal agriculture, and has aimed to phase out the use of all antibiotics by 2030.

Dr. Steve Merchant, president of the New Zealand Veterinary Association, said that by that year, the country will not need antibiotics for the maintenance of animal health and wellness.

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“With sharply increasing levels of resistance to antibiotics worldwide, we want animals and, by extension, humans to enter the ‘post-antibiotic’ era as safely as possible,” Merchant said.

Merchant said this is a significant undertaking, requiring considerable teamwork and commitment from the veterinary profession, working with the medical, scientific, government and relevant primary industry sectors.

“Given the wide acceptance that the future for antibiotics is limited, and the close links between animals, humans and the environment we share, achieving this goal is essential. New Zealand is well suited to this challenge; given our size, proximity of the various specialities and relevant industry sectors, and already low use of antibiotics,” said Merchant.

Merchant said in order to make the transition a success, a collaborative effort involving changes in attitudes and behaviors from veterinarians, researchers, government officials, human health professionals and pharmaceutical companies. Veterinarians will use and advocate for careful antibacterial management and monitoring based on responsible use of existing antibiotics as they work with industry partners to jointly test and develop the necessary alternatives.