The British Veterinary Association has expressed “deep concern” at a European Parliament resolution calling for a ban on the prophylactic use of antibiotics (antimicrobials) in livestock farming.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has claimed it is “deeply concerned” by a European Parliament resolution calling on the Commission to legislate against the prophylactic use of antibiotics (antimicrobials) in livestock farming.
The move is part of a larger motion drawing attention to the problem of antimicrobial resistance and calling for measures across Europe to reduce the increase in resistance. It was passed by MEPs on October 27, 2011.
BVA president Carl Padgett said: “There is a huge amount to be welcomed in this resolution, which calls for greater surveillance, increased use and understanding of data, and a responsible approach to the use of antimicrobials across Europe.
“However, the call for a ban on the prophylactic use of antibiotics in livestock farming could have a detrimental impact on animal health and welfare by reducing the ability of veterinary surgeons to treat animals in a timely and appropriate fashion.”
Mr Padgett added: “While we understand the desire to put an end to blanket prophylactic treatment with antimicrobials, this measure shows a lack of understanding of how vets treat infection on the farm.
“Vets should be able to use their clinical and professional judgement; otherwise we risk a situation whereby they are unable to administer an antimicrobial to an injured animal to prevent infection, or to the penmates of sick animals on farm who are likely to also be infected.
“In a practical sense a complete ban on the prophylactic use of antimicrobials puts the vets in a very difficult position and the result could compromise animal health and welfare.”