Background: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), recognised as a serious and growing threat to global health, is promoted by multiple drivers, including antibiotic use in the livestock sector. Thus, understanding factors infuencing antibiotic use in livestock production is essential to the design and implementation of efective interventions to reduce AMR. This qualitative study aimed to explore the experiences and views of the key actors associated with the use of antibiotics for pig farming in Thailand, from local farmers to ofcers in central government institutions.
Methods: A total of 31 in-depth interviews were conducted with diferent categories of actors: pig farmers (n=13), drug retailers (n=5), veterinarians (n=7), government ofcers (n=3) and representatives of animal and human health associations (n=2). Themes emerging from the interviews were identifed and explored using thematic analysis. In addition, direct observations were conducted in the pig farms.
Results: The fndings highlight the multi-faceted nature of the views and practices that may contribute to misuse or overuse of antibiotics in the study locations, including misconceptions about the nature of antibiotics and AMR (particularly among smallholders), lack of facilities and fnancial means to establish an antibiotic-free farm, lack of sufcient training on AMR and antibiotic prescribing for veterinarians, the proft motive of pharmaceutical companies and their ties to farm consultants, and lack of sufcient regulatory oversight.
Conclusions: Our study indicates a clear need to improve antibiotic use for pig production in Thailand. Farmers need better access to veterinary services and reliable information about animal health needs and antibiotics. Innovative investments in biosecurity could improve farm management and decrease reliance on antibiotics, although the cost of these interventions should be low to ensure wide uptake in the livestock sector. Lastly, further development of professional training and clinical guidelines, and the establishment of a code of conduct, would help improve antibiotic dispensing practices.