11 September 1998

FEDESA refutes antibiotic claim

CONSUMER groups who claim farm animals are pumped with antibiotics to boost growth rates have got it wrong, according to new data from the European Federation of Animal Health (FEDESA).

An independent survey, commissioned by FEDESA, shows that out of total EU antibiotic use of 10,500t, just 15% is for animal nutrition, compared with 52% for human medicine and 33% for veterinary practice.

"Much information has been published on the supposed level of antibiotic use in rations, some suggesting it accounts for over half the total usage," federation president, Ghislain Follet told FW this week.

"But the results of the survey show that consumption of antibiotics for animal nutrition is relatively small. To put it into context, if we compare the use of antibiotics in the animal population with that in the human population, animals are 120 times less likely to come into contact with them than humans."

The work was commissioned six months ago at the request of the EU Commission and member state governments, and presented this week at a conference on antibiotics in Copenhagen. &#42