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

18.2.2016

FOUR PAWS welcomes planned improvements in antibiotic regulations.

The International animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS welcomes the results of yesterday’s vote by the Parliamentary Committee on the Environment towards a regulation on the use of veterinary medicines. The parliamentary committee voted in favour 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. The prophylactic use of antibiotics or the use of antibiotics as a preventive measure should only be practised on single animals and when approved 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 at 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. The currently high use of antibiotics in the industrial keeping of farm animals 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."

Pierre Sultana, Director of the FOUR PAWS European Policy Office in Brussels 

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 favourable conditions for the 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."

Pierre Sultana, FOUR PAWS European Policy Office

FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org