Common Dreams - by Jessica Corbett - Oct. 25th, 2018
The European Parliament on Thursday approved new rules for medicine use on healthy livestock in an effort to battle superbugs. (Image: Avicultura.com)
“Antibiotic resistance is a real sword of Damocles, threatening to send our health care system back to the Middle Ages.”
In a move celebrated by experts and activists who continue to raise alarm about the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance—fueled in part by rampant overuse of medicines in agriculture—the European Parliament on Thursday approved new rules for antibiotic use on healthy farm animals.
“This is a hugely important breakthrough for human and animal health and is by far the more serious attempt that Europe has ever made to achieve responsible antibiotic use in farming,” declaredCóilín Nunan, campaign manager of the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, a coalition of EU-based medical, health, agricultural, environmental, consumer, and animal welfare groups.
About 73 percent of the world’s medicines are currently used on livestock, Nunan noted, and “farming accounts for about two thirds of all antibiotic use in Europe, so if the legislation is implemented correctly, we should be seeing very large reductions in use in years to come.”
The “long-awaited” law, which is set to take effect in 2022, will limit preventative use of antibiotics on groups of animals; empower European regulators to designate certain medicines for human use only; impose restrictions on imports; and encourage new research and protections for new drugs.