At a time when the world is facing increased global concern about the use of antibiotics in livestock 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. Whatever the actual figure, it is obvious that such use is widespread, on a scale at least equivalent to use in humans. Antibiotic consumption is also projected to increase.

Only by acting jointly on a global scale, can we tackle this problem and avoid the excessive and unnecessary use of antibiotics. Rising usage of antibiotics leads to more medicine resistant bacteria and the treatment of different illnesses becomes harder.

Why is the use antibiotics on our livestock so prevalent? 

Use of antibiotics in cows includes therapeutic treatment (for illnesses), treatment of a herd of animals when one or more is diagnosed as sick; and in the case of certain EU countries and the United States, also as a preventive measure 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 totally banned in Europe since 2006 and since 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. There is a problem 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 rates. 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. (Review on antimicrobial resistance report, December 2015)

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 also of major importance to ensure efficient production. In addition, the world has to address the challenge of ensuring food security and satisfy the growing demand for protein to support the growing global population. By 2050, over 70% more animal protein will be needed to feed the world.  

Finally, and equally importantly, it is crucial to maintain the efficacy of antibiotics to ensure good public health worldwide. The thought of a world without the means to treat infections, is terrifying.  

VikingDefence reduces the risk of incidences of clinical diseases such as mastitis and digital dermatitis. By selecting directly for actual diseases registered under the indices: General Health, Hoof Health, and Udder Health, dairymen make breeding far more successful than purely 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, former CEO of VikingGenetics

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

Lars Nielsen, Head of Breeding at VikingGenetics

“Approximately 90% of our dairy herds submit 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."