Before launching the full EFFORT sampling campaign, a smaller pilot study has been conducted to optimize the EFFORT sampling protocols. During late spring and early summer, a few selected farms have been visited by the EFFORT scientists. They have taken samples from the animals and the surrounding environment. In addition to the sampling, information on animal health, past antibiotic use etc. has been collected from using specially designed questionnaires. The pilot study is now finished, and valuable experience gained that will be used to fine-tune the sampling methods.
During the next weeks and months, EFFORT partners in all participating countries will start full-scale sampling using the finalized protocol. Each farm visit is expected to take about 4 hours, during which fecal droppings is collected from the animals. Furthermore, in order to investigate risk factors for antimicrobial resistance, the EFFORT scientist gathers farm specific data using the project’s specific questionnaire, by interviewing the farmers. The questions are about specific farm characteristics, management, animal antimicrobial usage, biosecurity, animal health and welfare.