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It is widely accepted that antibiotic use drives the development of antibiotic resistance. Hence it is important that swine production uses antibiotics in a judicious manner. In addition, the label claim for livestock antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) of importance to humans has been removed in Canada. In reality, antibiotics have contributed greatly to efficiencies in meat production and animal health. A reduction in the use of growth promoting antibiotics has ramifications for costs of meat production and animal welfare given that sick animals need to be treated, often with antibiotics. Consequences of similar AGP bans in swine production in Europe included an immediate increase in therapeutic use of antibiotics considered important for humans, particularly for nursery stage pigs in Denmark and the Netherlands. It is important to identify and advance our knowledge through the existing research of alternative approaches to antibiotic use, in the nursery stage of pig production.

Scoping reviews are a relatively novel approach for synthesizing research evidence in the veterinary and livestock production research literature (Pham MT., 2014). They are useful for mapping the extent, range, and nature of existing literature on a broad topic area. In addition, scoping reviews are useful for identifying gaps in the literature and for determining the feasibility of conducting one or more systematic reviews to help answer a specific question about the effectiveness of a specific intervention in a specific population measuring a specific outcome (Arksey and O’Malley, 2005).

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