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Antimicrobial resistance in animal agriculture: understanding user attitudes and behaviours
  1. Dominic Moran, BA, MA, PhD
  1. Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security, University of Edinburgh, UK
  1. e-mail: dominic.moran{at}

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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the quintessential planetary One Health challenge, with the problem of injudicious use of antimicrobial medicines in both clinical and veterinary practice attracting increasing regulatory scrutiny.1 As with climate change we may already be exceeding planetary limits in the case of AMR. If we assume that there is a finite amount of resistance to infection in nature, then we are rapidly depleting it through drug misuse. In response we need to manage it carefully for current and future generations before it is irreversibly lost.

The real or sometimes illusory gains from antimicrobial use are perceived as private while the losses are social. Many antimicrobial users are either unaware or apparently discount wider social and long-term consequences of private use, partly because these consequences are hard to observe. This scenario defines some of the key issues for social scientists interested in changing behaviour towards antimicrobials. It also encapsulates many of the policy challenges, including the need to address information sharing between government and users, and the development of effective regulations when the impacts are felt differently across different countries, but are also transboundary.

Antimicrobial use in animal production in some countries now exceeds use in human medicine. Animal uses in many countries are predominantly for growth promotion, or as a low cost substitute for other hygiene …

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