12 May 2000
‘Falling incomes threaten welfare’
By FWi staff
GRASSROOTS farmers are to hold meetings with the RSPCA to voice its concerns that animal welfare is being compromised by falling farm incomes.
The move, by Farmers For Action, follows publication of government figures that show a sharp fall in antibiotic use on farms.
The figures show that sales of antimicrobials rose steadily between 1993 and 1996, when farm animals accounted for the use of 629t of active ingredient.
But figures collected by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate show that by 1998 antibiotic use had dropped by 27% to 522t.
The emergence of antibiotic resistance in human medicines has led to increasing concerns about the use of the products in animal production systems.
But farmers are worried that animal welfare could suffer if producers are forced by low prices to cut medicine costs, said FFA spokesman Kelvin Linsley.
“Those who are forcing down the price of milk unnecessarily are gambling with the health of our cows and possibly with the nations health as well.”