Defra rules out clampdown on antibiotics

The government has ruled out further restrictions on the use of antibiotics for sick livestock before a review of European legislation.

Defra minister George Eustice said the government had “no plans to significantly revise” the veterinary medicines regulations before the review had taken place.

See also: Tough EU rules will ‘restrict development of new antibiotics’

The European Commission is currently considering a review of the EU legislative framework on veterinary medicines and medicated animal feed.

It is unclear when any review might be completed.

Mr Eustice was replying to a parliamentary question from Bridgend MP Madeleine Moon.

Ms Moon had asked whether Defra would bring forward legislative proposals to limit the use of antibiotics on farms to sick animals.

Mr Eustice responded by saying said the government had reissued guidance on the responsible use of animal medicines on the farm.

“We do not support the routine preventative use of antibiotics, or the use of antibiotics to compensate for poor animal husbandry,” he said.

Antibiotic veterinary medicines were only available through a prescription from a veterinary surgeon, said Mr Eustice.

A vet could only prescribe to animals under their care following a clinical diagnosis, he added.

Using antibiotics responsibly was a requirement of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) code of professional conduct for vets.