NOAH Chief Executive Dawn Howard comments on the investor group campaign on the use of antibiotics in animals (1).
“In the UK we encourage and expect high standards of animal welfare. Under animal welfare legislation farmers need to ensure sick animals receive appropriate treatment without delay. This may mean a veterinary surgeon will prescribe an antibiotic. Everyone who cares about animals understands the importance of responsible medicine use, high standards of biosecurity, use of vaccines and farm health planning.
“Throughout the EU the use of antibiotics for growth promotion was banned in 2006, and imports from elsewhere in the world are also subject to this strict standard. So any reference to growth promoters is not relevant to food in UK shops and restaurants. Veterinary surgeons, farmers and the animal medicines sector agree that antibiotics should not be routinely used on a prophylactic basis to compensate for poor husbandry practice.
“Medical and veterinary sectors should work together to help ensure antibiotics remain effective for us all. The scientific consensus is that the biggest driver of antibiotic resistance in humans is human use. This has been confirmed time and again: most recently by Europe’s preeminent group of regulatory assessors at the European Medicines Agency Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP), which says in its draft strategy on antimicrobials that: “it is recognized that the biggest driver of AMR in people is the use of antimicrobials in humans or human health.”(2)
“It is important that authorised veterinary antibiotics remain available for vets to prescribe and use responsibly to maintain our high standards of animal health and welfare.”
CVMP Strategy on Antimicrobials 2016-2020 (6th November 2015, draft) www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Scientific_guideline/2015/11/WC500196645.pdf