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EU Parliament steps up fight against farming-related antibiotic resistance

Press Release

Thursday 10 Mar 2016

Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, welcomed today’s vote in the European Parliament to usher in tighter controls and restrictions on the administration of antibiotics to farm animals.

Ms. Childers, a member of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, was one of the members who moved amendments to prevent the blanket use of antibiotics, where scores of healthy animals are treated preventively without therapeutic justification.

Speaking after today’s full house vote in Strasbourg, where EU parliamentarians concluded their first round of work on a draft law on veterinary medicines, to be followed by negotiations with Member State governments, Ms. Childers said:

“We cannot allow cost-cutting business as usual to carry on in large-scale, industrial farming. Increased resistance to the most common antibiotics could bring us back to the dark ages of medicine, when we were at the mercy of infectious diseases and the chances of surviving surgery were scant.

“This is not an overstatement. The World Health Organisation has been compiling alarming data on the development of multi-drug resistant superbugs that pose severe public health risks on a global scale.

“I am glad we managed to bring a majority of MEPs on board to make progress on this critical issue. We cannot afford to allow the indiscriminate use of antibiotics, which are often sold online and end up on our plates.

“These heightened threats to human health and life make the use of medication to make up for shoddy animal husbandry absolutely unacceptable.

“We certainly need to establish classes of antimicrobials which are critical for human treatment and must be off-limits for other purposes.

“I very much hope that the Member States’ governments will be similarly minded, and refrain from diluting the agreement we reached today.”