EGGVP as part of The European Platform for the Responsible Using of Medicines in Animals, EPRUMA, raises concerns about animal welfare when setting the antimicrobial reduction targets foreseen in the Farm to Fork strategy.

EPRUMA members support the transition to a more sustainable food system. They also consider that the target should be to reduce the need to use antibiotics, as well as to reduce antimicrobial resistance. Protecting animal health through other means and using antibiotics only when necessary, is the best way to reduce the need for antibiotic treatment.

The antimicrobial sales for animal use in Europe have reduced by one third in the past ten years. In this light, EPRUMA has concerns that the additional 50 per cent target by 2030 could have a severe negative impact on animal health and welfare, and endanger food safety.

Animals as sentient beings deserve treatment when suffering from treatable infectious disease. The inability to treat an infection would have serious implications for animal health, welfare and also for public health. There is no product yet available to replace antibiotics in terms of capacity to treat bacterial diseases.

By ensuring good animal health and well-being through better housing conditions, better management, proper nutrition, vaccination and medicines, including antibiotics, when needed, Europe’s veterinarians and farmers can deliver on truly sustainable livestock farming which keeps animal health and welfare, and food safety at the forefront of its objectives.

EPRUMA statement 20 July 2020: Policy targets should aim at ensuring responsible use of veterinary antibiotics.