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Government fails to tackle farm antibiotics

News Section Icon Published 17/09/2013

A new UK government report outlines its five year strategy for tackling the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

The report acknowledges that the overuse of antibiotics means that we could be heading towards a future where we may not be able to prevent or treat everyday infections or diseases.

But, although the Government report recognises that farming is part of the problem, it lacks specific targets for change, timescales and new legislation which would be necessary to reduce the amount of antibiotics fed to farm animals.

Compassion in World Farming is part of the Save Our Antibiotics Alliance, in partnership with Sustain and the Soil Association, which aims to stop the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture.

Incredibly, farm animals consume nearly half of all the antibiotics produced worldwide. The overuse of antibiotics props up factory farming systems in which animals are at greater risk of illness due to close confinement, early weaning and stress.

Our most recent report highlighted how our health is under threat from the overuse of antibiotics in intensive farming. We recommended several key actions to protect our antibiotics from becoming ineffective, which included:

  • A legally binding timetable to end all use of antibiotics as a preventative measure rather than a cure
  • A ban on certain key antibiotics which are of critical importance to human heath
  • New legislation to ensure farm animals are kept in healthier, less intensive conditions with access to the outdoors wherever possible

Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion says: "It is disappointing that the Government has failed to take this opportunity to tackle the excessive use of antibiotics in farming.

"Instead of pumping our farm animals full of antibiotics, disease could be prevented by good hygiene, husbandry and housing. What we have instead is a human health time bomb. The Government has failed to address it in this report, it is still ticking."


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