EU urged to tackle animal antibiotic resistance

MEPs have called for the EU Commission to tackle the threat of widespread antibiotic resistance (AMR) in farm animals.

In a motion put forward by Paolo De Castro, chairman of the parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, MEPs said more needed to be done to encourage responsible and prudent use of anti-microbial medicines.

They agreed more research into alternative treatments and closer monitoring of antibiotic use was vital to ensure the threat of resistance was combated through a “coordinated approach”. They also called for more information to be given to vets and farmers to minimise the development of anti-microbial resistance in animals.

Resistance to antibiotics is the greatest threat to both animal and human health, said Swedish Liberal MEP Marit Paulsen.

The NFU said AMR was “an important issue” and praised MEPs for raising its profile within the ongoing debate on the EU’s Animal Health and Welfare strategy.

Dawn Howard from the NFU Brussels office said vet medicines should be used “as little as possible, but as much as necessary”. She added the UK was already leading the way in Europe with its Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) initiative to help educate farmers.

“We are pleased MEPs listened to our advice and have come out with this sensible resolution. Farmers recognise human health must be the overriding consideration guiding anti-microbial use. Our combined industry efforts are therefore tailored to encourage responsible use of anti-microbials in farm animals to reduce any possibility of loss of efficacy in both animal and human treatment,” she said.

“The responsible use of all veterinary medicines in British livestock farming is vital to maintaining our high standards of food safety, animal health and welfare.”

See more