Non-therapeutic use of antibiotics for metaphylaxis, prophylaxis, and growth promotion in food animal production systems contributes to the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance can subsequently be transmitted within and between animals, humans, and the environment and consequently lead to treatment failure in humans and animals at a later stage. A questionnaire-based, cross-sectional, online survey was conducted to assess farmers’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) on antibiotic use, resistance, and stewardship in food animal production systems in KwaZulu-Natal. The questionnaire was divided into four sections and information on the socio-demographic features and employment experience, in addition to knowledge, attitudes, and practices were collected. Data was entered in Microsoft Excel and analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS) with average scores > 50% considered adequate. In total, 82 respondents were received, of which 66 complete questionnaires constituted the final sample. Fifty-five percent (55%) and 50% of farmers stated that antibiotic(s) were different to anti-inflammatory and anti-pyretic medicines, respectively, while 42% considered them identical. Thirty-six percent of farmers agreed that the ban of antibiotic use as growth promoters in animals will have a negative effect on livestock production, and 45% agreed that it is difficult to produce high-quality livestock products without antibiotics. There are gaps in the overall knowledge, attitudes, and practices of farmers that should be improved through programs such as awareness campaigns and education and training on antibiotic use, resistance, and stewardship.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher