In times when the world is facing an increased global concern about the use of antibiotics in animals and the rise in antibiotic-resistant infections in humans, VikingDefence™ is our solution to address this pressing problem.

Estimates of total annual global antibiotic consumption in agriculture differ considerably - ranging from around 63,000 tonnes to over 240,000 tonnes. However, it is obvious that use is widespread, on a scale at least equivalent to use in humans. The antibiotic consumption is projected to increase. 

Only with joint efforts on a global scale, we can tackle this problem and avoid the excess and vain use of antibiotics. Rising usage of antibiotics leads to more bacteria that are medicine resistant and the treatment of different illnesses becomes harder. 

Why do we use such large quantities of antibiotics in our livestock? 

The usage of antibiotic treatments in cows includes therapeutic treatment (when ill), treatment of a batch of animals when at least one is diagnosed as sick; and for some countries within the EU and as in the United States, also as a preventive treatment against diseases. 

There is also the use of sub-therapeutic doses in animal feed and water to promote growth and improve feed efficiency. This practice has been banned in Europe since 2006 and in June 2017 in the United States. 

In modern dairy cattle operations around the world, mastitis is one of the most frequent infectious diseases, and accounts for most of the doses of antibiotics given to dairy cows. 

It is widely recognized that there is a correlation between use and resistance. Countries or areas that use more antibiotics, often have higher rates of resistant bacteria, meaning infections are harder to treat. There is also clear evidence that the use of antibiotics in animals is correlated to the development of resistant bacteria, as in human use of antibiotics. The problem is there and it needs to be addressed. 

There is also a long-term risk to food production from overusing antibiotics in livestock in the form of rising resistance amongst animals, leading to higher mortality. This could pose challenges to global food security as well as farmers’ profits. In the case of severe, untreatable infections, farmers may be faced with the loss of entire flocks or herds.

Why is it crucial to handle antibiotics with care and preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics?

Animal health is not only a key component of animal welfare but it is of high importance to ensure efficient production. Moreover, the world has to address the challenge of ensuring food security and satisfy the growing demand for proteins to support the growing population globally. By 2050, more than 70% additional animal proteins are necessary to feed the world.  

Finally yet importantly, it is crucial to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics to secure good public health worldwide. It is terrifying to think of the world, where we miss the means to treat infections. 

VikingDefence reduces the risk of incidences of clinical diseases such as mastitis and digital dermatitis, among others. By selecting directly for actual diseases registered under the indexes: General Health, Hoof Health, and Udder Health the dairymen make breeding far more successful than only relying on correlated measurements such as somatic cell count, feet & legs or immunity. 

Source: Review on antimicrobial resistance report, December 2015 & Responsible and prudent use of antibiotics in animals by World Organization for Animal Health. 

Cow Health Really Matters

Rex A. Clausager, CEO of VikingGenetics

“Overuse of antibiotics on animals create resistant bacteria. These bacteria can spread between animals and from animals to humans. At VikingGenetics we are conscious of the problem, and we have a long experience in breeding for healthy cows. Therefore, we have the knowledge that backs up VikingDefence™, as a part of our reliable breeding program which farmers trust."

Lars Nielsen, Head of Breeding at VikingGenetics

"Approximately 90% of our dairy herds deliver data on treatments directly into the cattle database, as it is seen as a good management tool. This means that most of our dairy cows are included in the evaluation of health trait breeding, which is amazing and something we are very proud of. This ensures a very high reliability level in breeding for health traits."