Act now on farm antibiotics

18 November 2013

Medical pills

A new Lancet Infectious Diseases report by leading scientists out today, ‘Antibiotic resistance – the need for global solutions’, is calling for action to be taken to tackle the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance.

The report highlights the link between the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture and human health. 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 a greater risk of illness due to close confinement, early weaning and stress.

The scientists warn that any antibiotic resistance developed in farm animals is likely to spread to humans.

The report recommends a global ban on antibiotics used for growth promotion. Using antibiotics as growth promoters is illegal in the EU but factory farming often relies on routine preventative use of antibiotics, something that Compassion is campaigning to end.

Antibiotics Alliance puts pressure on the government

Compassion is part of the Save Our Antibiotics Alliance, in partnership with Sustain and the Soil Association, supported by the J Coller Foundation, which aims to stop the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture.

The Alliance is calling on the government to:

  • Acknowledge that failing to act on antibiotic resistance is putting commercial interests over the future of medicines vital for people and animals
  • Make the preventative use of antibiotics for farm animals illegal
  • Improve welfare standards, so animals are not kept in intensive and unhygienic conditions predisposed to become ill and therefore do not need treatment with antibiotics

It’s past time that the government recognises the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance. Action needs to be taken now to stop the impending catastrophe.

Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion,
on behalf of the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics


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