What Impact does Antimicrobial Resistance have on Animal Health?


  • It should be remembered that AMR is a natural phenomenon that has existed since microorganisms have been present on our planet. It is their way of defending themselves to survive and replicate in humans, animals, plants, and the environment. However, since the discovery of antimicrobials, i.e., antibiotics, and their increasing use by humans, especially through overuse and misuse, the development of resistance mechanisms has also increased.
  • Since AMR is a natural phenomenon, we cannot imagine a world without it. Nevertheless, we can do more to reduce AMR as it develops and spreads and to regain more and more of the ability to use these essential drugs to treat otherwise life-threatening infections. In several countries that started fighting AMR several years ago, it is possible to return to the current state of affairs [examples from America/Canada, Europe/Denmark, Asia/China]. To do this, it is essential to provide already known tools (vaccines, diagnostics, waste management treatment) and increase investment to find and develop new ways to prevent and respond to AMR. Research plays a crucial role in this, whether it is to improve our knowledge, e.g., about transmission routes, but also to develop innovative solutions.
  • AMR is a global challenge that we have to tackle using a One Health approach, and there is a need to also invest in research in each of the specific sectors (human health, animal health, plant/crop health - including the food production and safety dimension - and environment) but also on the interface between sectors. At the moment, this is still not enough. The current landscape of projects on AMR Research and Development and correspondent funds in the data available in the Global AMR R&D Hub[1] show that investment for R&D projects for cross-sectoral research is less than 10% of the total.
  • Awareness-raising plays an essential role as a first step in generating interest among the various stakeholders concerned and the general population. However, studies have shown that knowledge about an issue is not enough to trigger action. FAO supports a comprehensive awareness campaign and conducts behavioral science interventions to bridge this gap between knowledge and action/commitment, such as the Farmer Field Schools in Africa.
  • For animal health, this means that animals are less infected/sick thanks to good husbandry facilities and practices, on-farm biosecurity, vaccines, and diagnostics. We will soon launch an initiative to promote and support countries to reduce the need for antimicrobials on farms and invite you to follow our website closely.