12 February 2022

On 28 January 2022, the EU has banned all forms of routine farm antibiotic use, including prophylactic
group treatments. Using antibiotics to compensate for inadequate husbandry or poor hygiene
will also become illegal.

This is a major step forward for more responsible and sustainable antibiotic use in European
farming. If properly implemented, it should lead to a large reduction in farm antibiotic use, help
tackle the serious crisis of antibiotic resistance, and protect human and animal health.

Unfortunately, there are real concerns that full compliance with the new legislation will not be
achieved and that some key aspects may not be implemented in practice. This is because there
is very limited evidence that Europe is moving away from highly intensive livestock farming
systems, which often have poor hygiene, high levels of disease and excessive antibiotic use, and
towards livestock farming systems which promote good animal health and welfare, low levels of
stress and much lower levels of antibiotic use.

Further reading: EPHA
Author(s): Cóilín Nunan
Healthy Animals  


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