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Calls To Cut Antibiotic Use By 50% By 2015

EU - A new alliance, consisting of Compassion in World Farming, The Soil Association and Sustain has called for the EU to cut the use of antibiotic by 50 per cent by 2015.

The alliance has clarified that it is not calling for a total withdrawal of antibiotic treatment of farm animals, simply to use it to treat sick animals, thereby reducing suffering and maintaining good animal welfare.

Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive at Compassion in World Farming says:“Our farm animals in the EU are being routinely treated with prophylactic antibiotics. This indiscriminate over-use means that a world without effective antibiotics for humans is a very real prospect.

“Factory farmed animals are kept in confined, crowded and stressful conditions. All this leads to a suppression of their immune systems, so that factory farming often relies on antibiotics instead, as a compensation method. There are viable, alternative models of good animal health.”

Richard Young, Soil Association Policy Advisor, says: "Organic farmers have shown it is entirely possible to raise healthy animals with minimal use of antibiotics. We cannot get rid of factory farming overnight, but we could immediately start a Europe-wide programme of change to look after animals in ways that naturally keep them healthy."

Professor Christopher Butler, Head of the Institute of Primary Care and Public Health at Cardiff University says: More and more antibiotics have been consumed for less and less benefit in many settings. All too often, antibiotics are prescribed in situations where the risk of harm outweighs the chance of benefit from the antibiotics.

"A significant contribution comes from over-reliance on routine use of antibiotics in intensive farming. It is not tenable to regard animal medicine as having marginal relevance to human health.”

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