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05 December 2016 | Online since 2003
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17 October 2016 10:44:17 |Animal Health,Husbandry,News,Products

New report slams 'massive overuse' of antibiotics on EU farms


Use of antibiotics remains more than twice as high in animals as in humans within Europe

Use of antibiotics remains more than twice as high in animals as in humans within Europe

Countries in the EU are failing to put an end to massive overuse of antibiotics in farming, according to a new report.
And use of antibiotics remains more than twice as high in animals as in humans within Europe.
Data published by the European Medicines Agency said sales of farm antibiotics went down by just 2% in 2014 compared to the year before.
If small reductions of this size are maintained, it will take 65 years for Europe to reach the adequate target.
"The shocking overuse of farm antibiotics shown by these data is a result of the continued failure by most countries to ban routine preventative mass medication in intensive farming," said Cóilín Nunan, from the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics.
"Spain now uses 100 times more antibiotics per unit of livestock than Norway, 80 times more than Iceland and 35 times more than Sweden.
"The main reason for the difference is that Spain, like most of Europe, allows routine mass medication, whereas the Nordic countries do not.
"The increased use of last-resort and critically important antibiotics is particularly alarming and confirms that reliance on voluntary and softly-softly approaches is not working."
Mass medication
Antibiotic use in the British livestock in 2014 was at similar levels to 2013 and significantly below the EU average.
However, the main reason for apparently quite low consumption is that, compared with other countries, the UK has a very high proportion of low-consuming sheep and relatively few high-consuming pigs.
Data shows that over 91% of European farm antibiotics are used for mass medication in feed or drinking water.
A large proportion of this is for routine disease prevention.
Mr Nunan said: "The British government must support the European Parliament’s proposed ban on routine mass medication in the upcoming 'Trialogue' negotiations.
"When Brexit happens, the Prime Minister says that EU rules and regulations will be converted into British law with the Great Repeal Bill, so these negotiations are going to be hugely important for the future of British farming."

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