At a global webinar organized recently to mark the ongoing World Antimicrobial Awareness 18-24 November, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi-based non-profit, made a strong pitch for introducing ethnoveterinary medicines (EVM) as an effective alternative to antibiotics for the dairy sector.
EVM involves the use of traditional and herbal preparations in treating diseases of cattle. CSE’s contention is based on the encouraging results of an ongoing project on EVM led by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
Unlike Covid-19, AMR is a silent pandemic, killing many every day across the world. A big concern is antibiotic resistance in particular, which means that antibiotics are becoming ineffective to treat bacterial infections. It is a growing global public health crisis that can also impact food security, livelihood, and development. Antibiotic misuse and overuse in producing food from animals are major causes of rising AMR.
“The world wants to save antibiotics to keep them effective. But so far, we have not had much success due to a lack of effective alternatives. We are now excited to share these new results on the effectiveness of ethnoveterinary medicine practices in the Indian dairy sector. EVM can go a long way in replacing antibiotics in this sector and reducing antibiotic resistance. But most importantly, it is a low-cost, farmer-friendly option. It can be a game-changer in how diseases are managed without toxic chemicals in the dairy sector,” said CSE director general Sunita Narain.
Narain moderated the webinar, which brought together key experts including A V Hari Kumar, deputy general manager (animal health), NDDB, India; Anil Kumar Bayati, managing director, Sabarkantha District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union Limited (Sabar Dairy), India; N Punniamurthy, professor emeritus, TD University, Bengaluru and former head, EVM Herbal Research Centre, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, India; Katrienvant Hooft, executive director, Foundation for Natural Livestock Farming and director, Dutch Farm Experience, the Netherlands; Daniela Battaglia, animal production officer, Animal Production and Health Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Italy; Alfonso Zecconi, full professor, Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases of Domestic Animals, DVM and co-founder, One Health Unit, University of Milan, Italy; Amit Khurana, director, Sustainable Food Systems Programme, CSE; and Rajeshwari Sinha, programme manager, Sustainable Food Systems Programme, CSE.