Reducing antibiotic usage in poultry production starts with a commitment to good farming practices – show students participating in “Stop Your Poultry from Bingeing on Antibiotics,” a contest organized in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap from late 2017-early 2018.
“Only when a farmer is fully devoted to his/her chickens will he/she feel urged to apply good farming practices for the sake of preventing bacterial infections, of reducing the need to treat his flocks with antibiotics,” said Tran Thanh Nam, 17.
Nam is among the 123 students from Thanh Binh 1 and Chau Thanh 1 high schools to have proposed novel ways to communicate about antibiotic abuse in Vietnam – through photos, paintings and short essays.
In his artwork To Produce Truly Awesome Chickens, Nguyen Le Duy Thanh, 18, depicts how a farm is run like an “antibiotic binge-drinking party,” where chickens big and small alike get drunk on antibiotics and yet the owner still markets his chicken products as “clean.”
Another aspiring artist, Tran Le Huynh Thu, names her painting Let Me Tell You, Darling, in which a couple is discussing how to reduce antibiotic usage through such good farming practices as choosing strong chicken breeds and planning the right vaccinations. Ms. Thu, 18, believes that for any antibiotic reduction measure to work, farming couples should discuss more with each other, although sharing farming experience is uncommon among husbands and wives in rural Vietnam.
Together the contest participants brought antibiotic abuse into the perspective of complex societal relations. And they did that, not without a sense of humor.
With 10 prizes, “Stop Your Poultry from Bingeing on Antibiotics” will have its award ceremonies in Thanh Binh and Chau Thanh districts on the 8th and 9th January respectively.
It is organized by the Ho Chi Minh City-based Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, in collaboration with the Dong Thap Center for Health Information and Education, and the Provincial Department of Education and Training.
“Stop Your Poultry from Bingeing on Antibiotics” is a community-engagement activity under ViParc, a research project aiming to help farmers in the Mekong Delta raise healthy chickens with lesser amounts of antibiotics.
The ViParc project is conducted against the backdrop of widespread antibiotic overuse and misuse in Vietnam’s farming sector, which is believed to be a major driver of antibiotic resistance. Such resistance refers to the ability of bacteria to avoid the mechanism of action of antibiotics, resulting in failure in the treatment of bacterial infections in both animals and humans.
ViParc researchers recently confirmed the presence of colistin-resistant non-typhoidal Salmonella in pork purchased from a wet market in Ho Chi Minh City. It was the first time that bacteria resistant against colistin, a last-resort antibiotic, had been identified in meat in Vietnam.