Antibiotics endgame - experts want to end to misuse in farming
Animal health experts are demanding urgent Government action to deal with the devastating consequences of antibiotic abuse in farming
Antibiotic misuse on intensive pig and poultry farms could force medicine back into the "dark ages", agri experts have warned.
As countries across the EU grapple with the ongoing threat of drug resistant infections, experts are calling on the Irish government to ramp up efforts in the agricultural sector.
Although the IFA stress that farmers and vets are following strict protocols to ensure the protection of the food chain, they acknowledge that stricter codes of practice in pigs would reduce the industry's reliance on antibiotics.
Last week, speakers from human and animal health sectors, gathered at a Department of Agriculture seminar to discuss what Irish farmers can do to reduce excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics to treat animal infections.
Although these medicines protect human and animal health, uncontrolled use is contributing to the emergence of resistant bacteria, or antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which poses a serious threat to disease control throughout the world.
Despite both the Government's commitment to tackling the issue - a Joint National Interdepartmental Antimicrobial Resistance Consultative Committee was established in 2014 - experts claim "we are still dragging our heels".
Seamus Fanning, Professor of Food Safety and the UCD Centre for Food Safety said: "If we don't take action here to protect the efficacy of our antimicrobial ingredients we may not be able to protect our animals in the future when they get infections."
Since 2009, Dutch farmers have cut animal antibiotic use by 60pc without harming either animal welfare or their own profits.