The EU bans the routine use of antibiotics in farmed animals
The European Union’s new laws have come into effect, banning the prophylactic use of antibiotics in farmed animals.
The overuse of antibiotics is resulting in a global public health crisis, with as many as 3,500 human deaths worldwide from antimicrobial resistant infections (superbugs) daily.
Across Europe, more than 300 million caged farmed animals and 7.2 billion meat chickens produced each year. Most of these animals suffer in factory farms where they are routinely fed antibiotics in their feed or water to prevent them succumbing to disease as a result of low welfare conditions. The new regulations mean that only sick, individual animals (and not whole herds) may be administered antibiotics.
We cannot let this crisis get more out of control than it already is. The EU’s new regulations set a precedent that we desperately need in Canada and elsewhere. Additionally, as Europe is the world’s biggest importer of food, these new regulations will also have implications globally, as they will also reject imports of live animals or animal products where antibiotics have been used to promote fast growth of animals.
Pictured: Pigs raised for meat on industrial farms are crammed together in unhygienic conditions. Low welfare conditions like this make these animals more prone to getting sick which leads to the overuse of antibiotics.
We’re calling on the Canadian government to follow the EU’s lead and phase out the use of antibiotics to prevent disease across groups of farm animals and to ensure that remaining animal agriculture farms meet FARMS animal welfare standards at a minimum.
It is important to note that antibiotics are crucial to treat individual animals who become sick; but stopping the prophylactic use of antibiotics will also make them more effective when needed.
World Animal Protection also urges the Canadian government to help farmers transition to more sustainable and humane systems where animals don’t suffer, and human health isn’t at risk.
Factory farming and the rise of superbugs: 75% of the world's antibiotics are used on farm animals. Read more about our report that highlights the long-term threat of intensive animal agriculture to the health of humans, animals and the planet.