The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics has called for the VMD’s ban on advertising antimicrobials to farmers to be immediate, rather than waiting for the VMR’s revision period in early 2013.

The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics has called for an immediate ban on advertising antimicrobials to farmers.

Antimicrobial banDespite welcoming the decision by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to bring in a ban next year, the alliance wants the VMD to act now.

Member organisations of the alliance, such as Compassion in World Farming, have been long-term opponents of the practice of advertising antibiotics to farmers, which is against the law in all other EU member states.

Compassion in World Farming’s senior campaign manager and co-ordinator of the alliance Emma Slawinski said: “This is a small, but important, step on the road towards more responsible use of antibiotics in British farming. Much more still needs to be done if we are serious about tackling the growing threat that antibiotic resistance poses to animal and human health.

“Major restrictions are needed on the use of critically important antibiotics that are contributing to the spread of dangerous superbugs like ESBL E coli and MRSA in British and European farm animals.
“The routine use of antibiotics for disease prevention must be reduced and eventually phased out.

“Finally, policy makers must recognise that most antibiotic use on farms is linked to the intensive way in which animals are kept. Improving animal health and welfare by getting rid of overcrowding and the worst excesses of factory farming must therefore become key components of the Government’s antibiotic resistance strategy.”

As previously reported on Vetsonline, the VMD had said: “A number of interested parties from veterinary medicine hold the view that the advertising of antibiotics to keepers of animals leads to undue pressure to prescribe newer antibiotics, which can often be important in human medicine and is associated with the development of multiple resistances.”

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