EU parliament rejects plan to ban some antibiotics for animal use

EU parliament rejects plan to ban some antibiotics for animal use
© Sam Carter via Unsplash

The European Parliament yesterday voted heavily against a proposal by German Greens to remove some antibiotics from a list of treatments available for animals.

The proposal was added as an amendment to the Commission’s new anti-microbials regulation, which is designed to help combat increased anti-microbial resistance.

The Greens argue that antibiotics are used too readily and too widely, not only in human medicine but also in veterinary practice, which increases the likelihood of resistance, so that the drugs become less effective over time.

The drugs targeted by the amendment are polymyxins, macrolides, fluoroquinolones and third and fourth generation cephalosporins. All of them feature on the WHO’s list of Highest Priority Critical Important Antimicrobials as important to tackle resistance in humans.

The ban was opposed by the federal knowledge centre on antibiotic resistance AMCRA, and by Flemish animal welfare minister Ben Weyts (N-VA).

If that motion is approved, many life-saving treatments for animals will be de facto banned,” he said.

Belgian MEP Tom Vandenkendelaere (EPP) warned of the consequences of the motion. “This goes directly against the scientific advice of various European agencies,” he told VILT.

Veterinarians could only use 20 percent of the existing antibiotic range. People would find it difficult to treat their pets, such as a dog or cat with a banal abscess or farm animals. A near-total ban on critical antibiotics for animals would create human health problems as humans run the risk of infected animals passing on their bacteria. An individualised approach, where one considers on a case-by-case basis which specific animal treatments can be allowed, as is currently the case in Belgium, would work better."

Finally, the Green motion was defeated by 450 votes to 204 with 32 abstentions.

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