The chicken industry has a responsibility to maintain the health and welfare of the chickens in its care. Antibiotics are one of a range of tools used to help to keep animals healthy, together with vaccines, good biosecurity, good nutrition and good husbandry and hygiene practices.
Australian chicken producers may in certain circumstances use antibiotics to treat or control infections in flocks, or to prevent diseases occurring where there is a high risk of a disease occurring. Only antibiotics approved by Australia’s regulatory authorities are used, and if used, they must be administered in accordance with strict guidelines so that they do not leave residues.
No antibiotics that have been determined by the World Health Organisation to be critically important in human medicine are used routinely in chicken production. In addition, most antibiotics classified as the highest priority for human health aren’t registered for use in poultry in Australia and are therefore not used at all.