Antibiotic use in European livestock has been pushed into the spotlight following a resolution drafted by Paolo de Castra, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Agricultural Committee that calls for better research and analysis of the impact of antimicrobials in livestock.

“Public health officials have long warned of the dangers of the over-use of antibiotics in humans,” Castra said in a press release. “The same applies to animals.”

The committee reports that nearly half of today’s antibiotics in Europe are prescribed for animals. Because of the increasing problem of antibiotic-resistant illnesses, the committee is concerned with the overuse of antibiotics in European livestock herds.

In order to avoid a future without effective microbial treatment and to "maintain antibiotics as an effective tool to combat disease, for both animals and humans", the resolution says, the first step is to reduce their use.

The resolution calls for:

  • Proper data collection and analysis of sales and use of antibiotics in animals
  • Research into antimicrobial-free animal production, for example vaccination, bio security, breeding for resistance
  • Regular systematic surveillance and monitoring of AMR in food producing animals and pets
  • More prudent use of antimicrobials in animals allied with better training and information for vet and farmers on how to minimize the development of AMR

Source: European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee