Farm Ireland

Monday 24 September 2018

Calls to reduce antibiotic usage on farms by European Parliament

Photo: Getty Images.
Photo: Getty Images.
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The European Parliament's committee on Agriculture and Rural Development is looking for changes around policies to reduce antibiotic usage on farms.

The move is to help reduce antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development has called on the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, as the committee responsible, to incorporate a number of suggestions into its motion for a resolution.

It stresses that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a critical global health issue that requires proactive, coordinated action; underlines the importance of taking a holistic approach to tackling AMR through the one-health approach, by ensuring coherence and coordination between human health, animal health and the environment.

Now it's calling on the Commission and the Member States to take an ambitious approach to ensuring that the targets set out in their respective Action Plans are fully and effectively achieved, and to strictly monitor the results that have been achieved.

These proposals include legislative solutions that will assist farmers in reducing the use of antibiotics in livestock farming, with the aim of prudent and responsible use of antimicrobials; insists that such legislative solutions must address prophylactic and metaphylactic use.

It also calls for further research and development into new antimicrobials and encourages alternatives to be investigated, including the development of more sustainable farming systems based on less intensive farming models.

The European Parliament committee says that disease prevention must be the first step for legislation tackling AMR in agriculture, both to ensure a high standard of animal welfare and reduce the need to resort to antibiotics; believes that antibiotics should never be used as compensation for poor hygiene or inadequate animal husbandry.

It is calling on the Commission and the Member States to ensure adequate funding for on-farm investments, such as in quality housing, ventilation, cleaning, disinfection, vaccination and bio-security.

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It says that the crucial role of education and training programmes in raising awareness about antimicrobial resistance and the prudent use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine for farmers and those involved in livestock farming and underlines the need to change the business culture employed by veterinary medicine producers, which encourages the use and overuse of certain medicines in order to generate profits.

While the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in food-producing animals has been banned in the EU since 2006; it is now calling on the Commission to enforce this ban as a conditionality to all food imports from third countries through Free Trade Agreements.

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