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DURING and following the second half of the 20th century, antimicrobial and anthelmintic medicines have shown many developments. Most of these have resulted in improved efficacy, reduced toxicity, improved application and marked reductions in unit dose rate. However, in the case of antimicrobials over these years, there has been relatively little reduction in the weights of the compounds used in farm animals. Generalising, much of this is due to the ‘old’ antimicrobials still being used with their high unit dose rates. In food production, where costs are always under scrutiny by the producer, their continued use must surely mean that they are perceived to be effective and to have positive advantages. This, in turn, suggests that, whatever that effect is, it is not being negated by any antimicrobial resistance that may or may not be present.
It is right to question the usage of antimicrobials on farms and in companion animals, as in many instances their use could be much better controlled, with medicine compliance improved and, in some instances, medicine usage might be reduced. However, in my opinion, on animal welfare grounds, it would be very …
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