It is of a great advantage for animal protein production due to the growth promoting property of antibiotics in animal feed at sub-therapeutic levels. Though it is economically efficient in animal health and production but always remains to be a double-edged sword, due to its non-judicious practice of usage. This led to the development of rapid drug resistant pathogens like Salmonella, Camphylobacter, E. coli which has relevance to human health. Considering the development of drug resistance and human health importance; it is critical to have antibiotic alternatives for efficient and economical animal protein production.
Return over investment is easily calculated for antibiotics, cost of treatment over anticipated return due to reduced morbidity and mortality. Treatment in healthy livestock or flocks brings a negative ROI as the cost for the treatment bring no additional benefit.
If chosen well and applied correctly in many cases an antibiotic alternative should bring return over investment of at least 1, so that the higher application cost compared to antibiotics is of no concern.
What happens if an encapsulated butyrate (ButiPEARL™) is applied to a healthy flock of birds? Feed conversion improved due to the increase of surface for nutrient absorption, this alone has shown to have an ROI of >3.
What happens if a probiotic (CLOSTAT®) stabilises the intestinal flora of an animal? The animals will be more resistant to intestinal pathogens of all types (i.e. Clostridia). In trials this has shown to reduce the need for therapeutic antibiotics by up to 50%, leading to an ROI of 5 from the saving on antimicrobials alone.
When antibiotics are used, the intestinal microbiome becomes unbalanced, taking on a mortgage towards future intestinal health of the animal. Therefore, while they are sometimes cheap, reliable, and easy to use, in the longer term they bring economic risks.
Good antibiotic alternatives clearly succeed when looking at farm economics compared to antibiotic use. They bring ROI even in healthy flocks or herds. Additionally, better health has positive impact on feed conversion and uniformity across all species, something therapeutic antibiotics certainly do not deliver.
Now is the time to act and replace all antibiotics possible, regardless of the legal need to do so.