Brexit threatens EU progress on farm antibiotic use, warns Green MEP

Molly has welcomed a new report today calling on the UK to maintain EU standards of farm antibiotic use. The report from the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics warns how Brexit would put pressure on the UK to diverge from EU standards as it attempts to strike trade deals with countries operating to lower standards. This would threaten the health and environmental protections the UK currently enjoys as an EU member state.

The European Parliament voted last year to end the practice of routinely treating groups of healthy animals with antibiotics. The ban will come into force in 2022, after the UK’s planned exit from the EU.

Molly, who is a member of the Agriculture Committee and was part of the European Parliament’s negotiating team on ending the routine use of antibiotics said:

“Intensive livestock farming relies on routine antibiotic use which poses a risk to human health by encouraging the development of resistant bacteria. The EU has adopted some bold but essential measures to tackle antimicrobial resistance, by restricting 90% of the European antibiotics currently administered routinely to farm animals. 

But Brexit threatens the progress made at EU level. The US has made its opposition to the new EU legislation clear, calling the restrictions on routine use of antibiotics a barrier to trade. In order to reach a trade deal with the US, the UK may be arm twisted to once again pump our livestock full of antibiotics and by doing so increase risks to human health and animal welfare.

“Greens want to stop Brexit so we can continue to be part of the collective European effort to improve farming methods, animal welfare and public health. Our policies of moving towards plant-based diets and shifting from intensive to extensive and pasture-reared livestock farming would also reduce the need for the use of antibiotics on farms and help us move towards net zero-carbon.”


Molly is quoted in the Guardian’s coverage of this story.