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Five-year plan launched to limit Hong Kong’s poultry antibiotic use

Hong Kong has launched a five-year action plan to reduce the amount of antibiotics used by farmers and limit the threat of antimicrobial resistance in the city.

The Hong Kong Strategy and Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance plans to introduce a “one health” approach to tackling the issue, which will encourage different sectors to work together to tackle the spread of infectious livestock disease, reports The Poultry Site.

Currently, farms in Hong Kong can buy and possess 20 different kinds of antibiotics after they are licensed by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD).

But on-site inspections earlier this year found that some farms use rarely-seen medicines imported from the mainland.

Under the action plan, the government will stop issuing permits to farmers, while the use of antimicrobials in animals that are to enter the food chain will be subject to veterinary prescription.

Dr. Howard Wong Kai-hay, former chief veterinarian at the AFCD, said while some farmers have expressed concerns over the lack of veterinary services, the influx of vets from overseas who were moving to Hong Kong to practice meant that animal welfare would not be affected.

Meanwhile, Helena Wong from the Democratic Party criticized the government for being “misfocused” over where the source of the problem really lies.

Wong said most poultry products on sale in the city are imported from the mainland, but the action plan fails to present any measures to monitor those imports.

She said the government needed to notify mainland authorities of the plan, and request mainland farms that supply poultry to Hong Kong to follow its rules.

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Posted on September 5, 2017

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