Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, has welcomed a report calling for the use of antibiotics in agriculture to be cut back or even, in critical cases, banned. She says the report, commissioned by David Cameron, reaffirms changes in policy and practice that the Greens in the European Parliament have been campaigning for. Dr Scott Cato, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Agricultural Committee, said:

“We agree with the conclusions of the report, that excessive and inappropriate deployment of antimicrobials in agriculture is leading to resistance, and this raises serious concerns for human and animal health.”

Greens have called for an end to the use of antibiotics as a routine preventive measure for food-producing animals, or as a whole group treatment where there has been no diagnosis of disease. They have also argued successfully for critically important antimicrobials (CIAs), listed by the World Health Organisation, to be restricted as far as possible, arguing they should be reserved for human use. Molly Scott Cato said:

“Greens say that good farm hygiene must be implemented as a preventive measure against disease, before any recourse to medicines. Our group in the Parliament successfully argued for an annex listing specific farm hygiene measures that should be undertaken [1]. There is clearly a link between intensive rearing and high density stocking and the spread of disease. We need to ensure that human and animal health is put before the interests and profits of industrial scale farming.”

Notes

[1] Preventative measures to be used before resorting to antimicrobial treatment of entire groups (metaphylaxis) of food producing animals page 83 Annex 3a refers to:

  • Using good healthy breeding stock that grows naturally, with suitable genetic diversity
  • Conditions that respect the behavioural needs of the species, including social interactions and hierarchies
  • Stocking densities that do not increase risk of disease transmission
  • Isolation of sick animals away from the rest of the group
  • (For chickens and smaller animals) subdivision of flocks into smaller, physically separated groups
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