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EU - Parliamentary Committee on Environment votes: Less antibiotics for farm animals


FOUR PAWS welcomes planned improvements in antibiotic regulations

18 February 2016 - The International animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS welcomes the results of yesterday’s vote by the Parliamentary Committee on Environment towards a regulation on the use of veterinary medicinal products. The parliamentary committee voted in favor of restrictions on the use of prophylactic and metaphylactic antibiotics.


According to the parliamentary committee, the routine use of antibiotics should be strictly regulated in the future. Prophylactic use of antibiotics or the use of antibiotics as a preventive measure should only be practiced on single animals as justified by a veterinarian. Methaphylactic treatment or the treatment of a whole group of animals when one shows signs of illness, should only be applied on clinically ill animals or on animals that are high risk of infection. The European Parliament plans to vote on the regulation this summer.


“We are pleased about the results of the parliamentary committee vote. A new regulation will help restrict the use of antibiotics on farm animals” said Pierre Sultana, FOUR PAWS Director of the European Policy Office in Brussels. “The currently high use of antibiotics in the industrial keeping of farm animals poses is highly problematic. Especially the metaphylactic use of antibiotics, which is still allowed in the EU and could be dangerous for humans and animals. When one animal is sick, instead of treating the single animal, the whole group of animals or flock is given antibiotics. This could easily lead to the misuse of antibiotics, especially when the lines are blurred as to when antibiotics should be used for prophylactic and metaphylactic purposes.”


The mass use of antibiotics brings attention to the problems linked to the industrial keeping of farm animals namely: high stocking density, short fattening periods, and  inadequate keeping conditions which are favorable condition for spread of disease. “The use of antibiotics should never be used to compensate for inadequate keeping conditions. The goal should be to improve keeping conditions, that in itself can help prevent illness” said Sultana.