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PASTURE-BORNE infections with gastrointestinal nematodes are ubiquitous and they constitute a major challenge to health, welfare and productivity wherever livestock are grazing. Since the advent of the first modern broad-spectrum anthelmintic in the 1960s, chemoprophylaxis has been the cornerstone of almost any parasite control programme aimed at pasture-based production of grazing livestock (Sangster 1999). However, with the emergence of anthelmintic resistance and with gastrointestinal nematodes able to survive drug treatment, concerns have been raised about the way anthelmintics are used (Kaplan 2004, Jabbar and others 2006). Over-dependence on chemical control methods, along with environmental and consumer concerns about reducing chemical residues in food, has stimulated the search for alternative solutions to nematode control (Waller and Thamsborg 2004).
Although the use of anthelmintics still often provides an excellent tool for the control of parasitic helminths, there is a need for a change of approach to avoid a crisis situation where these invaluable drugs become ineffective due to the development of anthelmintic resistance.
Today, we are aware that concepts of clean grazing based on the dose and move strategy where there are no parasites in refugia may be risky and may result in the selection of resistant parasites (van Wyk 2001). We have also started to realise that there is no single worming programme that suits all animals, in all grazing situations.
It could be argued that a ban of anthelmintics would remove their negative …