People and animals need access to safe and effective medications to treat infections and other serious diseases. Ensuring that the medicines we use to keep our animals healthy do not inadvertently harm our environment is equally important. These values lie at the heart of the work of the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI).
CAHI is committed to providing veterinarians and farmers with innovative medications to help keep our animals healthy, while promoting public understanding of how animal medicines are used to ensure a safe, affordable, and sustainable food supply. Veterinary oversight means all animal protein offered for sale in Canada is antibiotic-free because farmers work with their veterinarians to ensure proper medication use.
Given the importance of responsible antibiotic use, on December 1, 2018, Canada’s veterinary drug manufacturers voluntarily removed growth promotion claims from those products, which are also important to human medicine. These antibiotics now only list prevention, control, and treatment claims on their labels, and must be prescribed by a veterinarian.
CAHI is supportive of the use of best practices by farmers to minimize the need for antibiotics in the raising of animals. This includes things like barn design, nutrition, and vaccination programs. But despite everyone’s best efforts, bacterial infections will still occur from time to time, and the only treatment is an antibiotic. There is no alternative. “Raised without antibiotics” (RWA) programs have been created to meet market demand, but they often mean that veterinarians cannot use life-saving antibiotics to treat animals that become sick. This can lead to poorer animal health and can significantly compromise animal welfare.
Responsible use of all animal medicines means as little as possible is used and farmers may have left over expired or unwanted medications. Environmental stewardship is a CAHI priority. To ensure these medications can be disposed of safely, since 2014 CAHI has partnered with Cleanfarms to offer Canadian livestock and horse owners a national collection program. Collections are offered in each province once every three years. In 2019, 5,518 kg of obsolete or unwanted animal health products were collected at 79 sites in Northern Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario.
As the not-for-profit trade association representing the developers, manufacturers, and distributors of animal pharmaceuticals, biologics, feed additives, veterinary health products, and animal pesticides in Canada, CAHI is the unified voice and information source for the animal health industry in Canada. CAHI is a national association, whose members are responsible for the sales of approximately 95% of the animal health product market in Canada.
For more information, visit: cahi-icsa.ca
CAHI works with governments, veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and the general public. We actively participate on national and provincial working groups, coalitions and committees with the goal to support animal health and animal welfare.