Editorial Director for Drovers Greg Henderson gave an update on antibiotic resistence for Ag Day. Watch the full report in the video below.

The United Nations met in special session this week to discuss what members call “the biggest threat to modern medicine,” antibiotic resistance, and the threat it poses to human health. The UN estimates that more than 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant infections, though there is no global system to monitor such deaths.

All 193 UN member states were set to sign a declaration to work toward eliminating the overuse of antibiotics, including the use of antibiotics in food animals.

Thirteen leading drug makers issued a statement Tuesday promising to clean up pollution from factories making antibiotics and take steps to curb overuse of medicines to fight the increase of drug-resistant superbugs. They also pledged to develop new business models that improve access to vaccines and new antibiotics.

Last week pharmaceutical manufacturer Elanco, said it's aiming to develop 21 new alternatives to animal antibiotics. The company has introduced six so far, including vaccines for poultry and enzymes for dairy cows that strengthen their immune systems. This week Elanco is hosting a summit in Washington with about 50 executives from meat and dairy companies to discuss responsible antibiotic use.

But pharmaceutical companies are not the only ones under scrutiny.

Global concern over antibiotic resistance makes it clear that livestock producers also will be charged with reducing their use of antimicrobial drugs. In the near future, producers are likely to be required to make changes to animal handling and production systems that will reduce the threat of disease and thereby reduce the use of antibiotics.

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