The International Dairy Federation (IDF) was asked to join the newly launched Horizon 2020 consortium called DISARM, which promotes responsible use of antibiotics in livestock farming by actively identifying, sharing and disseminating best practices. IDF was invited to join this European consortium for its global expertise and its commitment to tackling antimicrobial resistance in the dairy sector to ensure animal and public health, as well as food safety.
The project will provide an opportunity for IDF members in Europe to test best practices; these can be used as learning tools for responsible use of antimicrobials agents in cattle on a global scale.
“The dairy sector has been making great progress towards reducing antimicrobial usage over the past decade, demonstrating that the responsible use of antimicrobials is possible,” said Caroline Emond Director General of IDF. “The dissemination of best practices and the implementation of preventive actions at herd level will help minimize the need for antimicrobial use. Lessons learned from these measures in Europe, which are mostly involved in fostering cattle health through good farm and animal management practices, could be replicated on a global scale.”
Dr María Sánchez Mainar, IDF’s Sustainability Manager, who coordinates the Animal Health and Welfare, Farm Management and Antimicrobial Resistance programme, is leading IDF’s efforts on the project.
DISARM (Disseminating Innovative Solutions for Antibiotic Resistance Management) is a collaboration between farmers, veterinarians, advisory services, academics and industry to promote prudent and responsible use of antibiotics in livestock production, to alleviate the threat of antibiotic resistance. Launched in January 2019, it will continue through December 2021 establishing a community of practice to disseminate effective practices and approaches. It will pilot and further unroll a multi-actor coaching method to stimulate farmers towards a more responsible use of antibiotics.
The growing global threat of antibiotic resistance demands a swift response from both the human and animal sectors. DISARM will bring stakeholders in the livestock sector together to identify, share, and disseminate established and innovative ideas, that will not only reduce antibiotic resistance, but act as a catalyst for improved animal health.
The Community of Practice
Multi-actor Farm Health Plan
Co-creation will be a theme underpinning the project, with Multi-Actor Farm Health Plans being central to affecting change. These plans consist of a coached group of stakeholders from the Community of Practice network around a total of 40 active livestock farms across Europe, identifying farm-specific good practice plans for a more prudent and responsible use of antibiotics. These farms will act as pioneers, and catalysts for further events, such as workshops, and farm visits, contributing to a cross-pollination of initiatives. Learnings from these will be captured through guides, videos, reports, and case studies available on an online platform, and media to suit a range of demographics. It is the consortium’s conviction that such multi-actor extension and advisory method will prove very effective in stimulating a more responsible use of antibiotics.
Europe wide collaboration
DISARM is a thematic network under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and is a cooperation between 15 partners from 9 countries, coordinated by the Flanders research institute for agriculture, fisheries and food in Belgium. The partners involved are Innovation for Agriculture (UK), ZLTO (NL), Wageningen University and Research Centre (NL), the Association of Agricultural Technical Institutes (ACTA, FR), Ghent University (BE),the Agricultural University of Athens (GR), the agricultural and veterinary university of Bucharest (RO), the agricultural university of Latvia (LT), ANPROGAPOR (ES), Seges (DK), Nutrition Sciences (BE), Angst (RO), the International Dairy Federation and COPA COGECA.
The legacy of the project aims to leave a wealth of information, engagement, and awareness within a well-connected CoP, with the ability and tools to continue the effort, propagating to the wider industry. This strategy aims to not only impact at a regional and member state level but provide influence on global animal husbandry practices; vital to stimulate the shift towards more responsible antibiotic stewardship.