Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in Agriculture

Antimicrobial drugs, including antibiotics, are used in agriculture across all livestock sectors to treat infections in animals.  In Canada based on 2020 data, approximately 82% of antimicrobials that are important to human medicine were distributed and/or sold for use in food producing animals.  

What is antimicrobial resistance?

It is the ability of microorganisms, commonly bacteria, to develop resistance to treatment with drugs, which previously worked effectively against them.  Bacteria are also very good at passing on this resistance information to other microbes, thereby spreading resistance more rapidly.  

Any antibiotic use can lead to the development of resistance, but inappropriate use speeds up the development and spread.  Resistant bacteria can spread between animals and humans through contaminated food or by direct or indirect contact.

All of us have an important role to play in the prevention of further development of AMR.  Prudent antibiotic use in agriculture is a key component to address this serious global issue.

What actions is the Department of Agriculture (DA) taking?


Pan-Canadian Framework: Prince Edward Island (PEI) contributed from both Agriculture and Health in the development of the Pan-Canadian Framework for Antimicrobial Resistance. In 2023, the Pan-Canadian Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance was released.

Health Canada: PEI through both DA and the PEI Veterinary Medical Association
(PEIVMA) have been active contributors and collaborators with Health Canada throughout policy and regulatory changes to antimicrobial availability and use.


The Department of Agriculture has been working with the Department of Health & Wellness and Health PEI to share information and develop common goals for action around AMR.

The DA has been working closely with the PEIVMA to ensure our agriculture industry will be aware of the many changes regarding access to antimicrobials across the country.

What changes have happened to antimicrobial access?

When should producers use antimicrobials?

Antimicrobials, specifically antibiotics, are fundamental in livestock production to treat infections caused by bacteria.  It is critically important to have an accurate disease diagnosis to prevent using antibiotics against infections caused by viruses and fungi in which they would be ineffective.

Your veterinarian can work with you to ensure you use the right drug for the right bug in the right dosage.  The route of administration and length of treatment are also extremely important.  Accurate treatment records should always be kept.

Other practices can help you avoid the need to use antibiotics such as:

  • Biosecurity and infection control
  • Vaccines
  • Good quality nutrition
  • Appropriate housing
  • Genetics


For more information, contact:

Dr. Jill Wood
PEI Department of Agriculture
5th Floor Jones Building
Phone:  902-218-2665

Published date: 
October 6, 2023

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