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Transmission of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) during animal transport

on the Wiley Online Library


Panel members at the time of adoption

Ana Allende, Avelino Álvarez‐Ordóñez, Declan Bolton, Sara Bover‐Cid, Marianne Chemaly, Robert Davies, Alessandra De Cesare, Lieve Herman, Friederike Hilbert, Konstantinos Koutsoumanis, Roland Lindqvist, Maarten Nauta, Luisa Peixe, Giuseppe Ru, Marion Simmons, Panagiotis Skandamis and Elisabetta Suffredini.


The transmission of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) between food‐producing animals (poultry, cattle and pigs) during short journeys (< 8 h) and long journeys (> 8 h) directed to other farms or to the slaughterhouse lairage (directly or with intermediate stops at assembly centres or control posts, mainly transported by road) was assessed. Among the identified risk factors contributing to the probability of transmission of antimicrobial‐resistant bacteria (ARB) and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs), the ones considered more important are the resistance status (presence of ARB/ARGs) of the animals pre‐transport, increased faecal shedding, hygiene of the areas and vehicles, exposure to other animals carrying and/or shedding ARB/ARGs (especially between animals of different AMR loads and/or ARB/ARG types), exposure to contaminated lairage areas and duration of transport. There are nevertheless no data whereby differences between journeys shorter or longer than 8 h can be assessed. Strategies that would reduce the probability of AMR transmission, for all animal categories include minimising the duration of transport, proper cleaning and disinfection, appropriate transport planning, organising the transport in relation to AMR criteria (transport logistics), improving animal health and welfare and/or biosecurity immediately prior to and during transport, ensuring the thermal comfort of the animals and animal segregation. Most of the aforementioned measures have similar validity if applied at lairage, assembly centres and control posts. Data gaps relating to the risk factors and the effectiveness of mitigation measures have been identified, with consequent research needs in both the short and longer term listed. Quantification of the impact of animal transportation compared to the contribution of other stages of the food‐production chain, and the interplay of duration with all risk factors on the transmission of ARB/ARGs during transport and journey breaks, were identified as urgent research needs.