Continued Responsible Use of Antibiotics in Animals Shows Positive Progress Towards Farm to Fork Target
With sales of veterinary antibiotics decreased by 53% on average across Europe since 2011, it is clear that the animal sector is now well-versed in good antibiotic stewardship. According to the latest ESVAC report from the European Medicines Agency, sales of EMA priority veterinary antimicrobial classes* have once again decreased. This shows a clear understanding from veterinarians, farmers and other animal guardians of the need to use antibiotics only when necessary in order to protect their efficacy for both people and animals.
The focus of European Antibiotic Awareness Day this year is on the targets established in the Council Recommendation on stepping up EU actions to combat antimicrobial resistance in a One Health approach and what actions are needed to achieve them. This Recommendation largely focuses on introducing targets for human health and reiterates the 50% reduction target for veterinary use set in the Farm to Fork strategy (in comparison to the reference year 2018). Progress is already made in the animal sector with the EMA’s report showing that in four years Member States have already reached just over half of the reduction target set for 2030.
Commenting on the progress, Roxane Feller AnimalhealthEurope Secretary General said:
“Year-on-year it is reassuring to see the responsible use of antibiotics for animal health reflected in the sales data collected by the EMA. We will continue to contribute to data collection within the revised reporting system which will cover both sales and use from this year on**. Setting targets and encouraging everyone involved to meet these targets helps drive action, but we must never lose sight of the overall goal of reducing resistance development. We must all keep up our efforts to ensure preventive health measures, practice good hygiene and improve our shared One Health”.
Just like disease, resistant bacteria does not recognise borders. With this in mind, the animal health sector works together with our global association HealthforAnimals to ensure good antibiotic stewardship around the world. Their global Roadmap to Reducing the Need for Antibiotics in animals, of which AnimalhealthEurope is a signatory, sets out concrete actions to be taken by 2025, and the latest Progress Roadmap shows very positive progress with, for example 71 new vaccines brought to market, with close to half for bacterial disease, and 1.9 million animal health caregivers trained in responsible use.
*Sales of quinolones decreased by 89.7%, polymyxins by 81%, 3rd- and 4th-generation cephalosporins by 49%, and fluoroquinolones by 24.7%.
**According to the latest information from the EMA, the first report covering 2023 sales and use data should be published by 31 March 2025.
Read more on the animal sector’s efforts in our report: Trends in Animal Antibiotic Use – Europe, updating on 20 November.