A day after an environment body said that "large-scale and indiscriminate" use of antibiotics in poultry industry might be "strongly linked" to growing antibiotic resistance in Indians, Indian Medical Association (IMS) today called for a ban on use of antibiotics for growth promotion and mass disease prevention in poultry.
It should only be used to cure the sick based on prescription of veterinarians, the medical body said.
"Antibiotics should not be allowed in feed and feed supplement. The government should set standards for animal feed, regulate the business. Antibiotics that are critical for humans should not be allowed for use in animals," said Narendra Saini, Secretary General of IMA.
"Further, stringent control on import of antibiotics and feed supplements should be implemented. There should be a stringent act on the same," Saini said.
The IMA also stressed on the promotion of vaccination against infectious diseases and demanded proper monitoring and surveillance of antibiotics supplied to the chemists. "Lack of data on the use of antibiotics and drug resistance is a major problem in India. It is necessary to create an integrated surveillance system to monitor antibiotics use and antibiotics resistance trends in humans, animals and food chain. A national-level database should be developed and kept in the public domain," said Saini.
"Governments worldwide are adopting regulations to control the use of antibiotics. But only those countries have shown signs of improvement that have taken stringent actions. European countries were the first ones to ban penicillin, streptomycin and tetracyclines as feed additives in the 1970s," he said.
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had on Thursday claimed that it found several antibiotic residues in chickens tested in Delhi-NCR region. It had said that "large-scale and indiscriminate" use of antibiotics in poultry industry might be "strongly linked" to growing antibiotic resistance in Indians.
The CSE also sought implementation of a comprehensive set of regulations including banning of antibiotic use as growth promoters in the poultry industry as it puts lives of people at risk.
It said 70 chicken samples from Delhi-NCR region were tested for six commonly used antibiotics during a recent study. While 40% tested positive, residues of more than one antibiotic were found in 17% samples.