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Action on farm antibiotic use urged

News Section Icon Published 08/07/2014

A new report by the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee - 'Ensuring access to working antimicrobials' – highlights that antibiotics are routinely used on healthy farm animals and recommends that this must stop.

The Select Committee, a group of MP’s that investigate certain issues, has called for a ‘drastic reduction’ in the use of antibiotics in medicine but there is no equivalent recommendation for a similarly drastic reduction in farm use.

One of the main concerns of the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics, of which we are a founding member, is routine preventative use - when antibiotics are given to intensively farmed animals when no disease is present.

The Select Committee states: ‘In farming meanwhile, we suspect that antibiotics may be routinely used on healthy animals’, and recommends that 'the Government takes action to ensure the use of antibiotics in farm animals is strictly required for therapeutic use.'

Alison Craig, Campaign Manager of the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics said: “We particularly welcome the sense of urgency in the Committee's report, in contrast with the Prime Minister's announcement last week of a review which is not expected to report for another two years.

“We are disappointed, however, that the Select Committee felt able to call for a ‘drastic reduction’ in the use of antibiotics in medicine, but there is no equivalent recommendation for a drastic reduction in agriculture. The Netherlands has reduced its farm antibiotic use by 56% in five years, and we should be aiming to emulate this kind of determined action in the UK.

“We want Ministers to set targets to reduce farm antibiotic use drastically, and urgently.”

Take action

  • The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics has launched a petition with 38 Degrees which more than 27,000 people have signed. Please sign and share the petition if you haven’t already.

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