To mark Antimicrobial Awareness Week, Lord Goldsmith has joined the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics in calling the Government to act in line with EU Nations to end routine use of antibiotics in intensive farming.
The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, of which Sustain is a member, has criticised the Government over a five-year delay in producing legislation to curtail antibiotics in farming. This has resulted in the UK falling behind the EU on critical legislation to help tackle the antibiotic-resistance crisis,
Following the government’s legislation proposals in February 2023 they undertook a public consultation until March, with findings initially due to be published in June and then delayed to September. At the time of writing, the Government has failed to publish these findings.
Cóilín Nunan of the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics said:
“How many more years is Defra going to keep on delaying before it does its job? The Government says that using antibiotics routinely or to compensate for poor animal husbandry is unacceptable, but its lack of action means that the UK is now one of the only countries in Western Europe where these misuses of antibiotics remain legal.”
The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics is calling on the UK Government to produce new legislation prohibiting routine use of antibiotics and end the use of antibiotics to control diseases caused by inadequate animal husbandry and poor hygiene.
Overuse of antibiotics in human and animal medicine is undermining our ability to cure life-threatening infections in people, by greatly increasing the spread of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Scientists predict that 10 million people a year could die from antibiotic resistant infections by 2050.
Former Environment Minister, Lord Goldsmith has said:
“It is hard to think of a more reckless and irresponsible policy and while other countries have taken the step of banning the routine use of antibiotics on farms, we have not, despite promising to do so for years. Future generations will be outraged that in our failure to stand up to vested interests and lobby groups today we robbed them of the most important medical advance our species has ever known.”
Despite recent data from the government’s Veterinary Medicines Directorate stating that UK farm antibiotic use has fallen by 59% since 2014, UK usage remains four times higher than that in Sweden, where animals are kept less intensively.
Will White, Sustain's Sustainble Farming Coordinator, has said:
"The continued overuse of antibiotics within industrial animal farming epitomises the short-sighted and negligent mindset of that sector. The promise of a more forward-thinking farming policy post-Brexit is being undermined by the failure to take decisive action against the routine misuse of our antibiotics, despite the clear evidence of their detrimental impacts on animal welfare and public health. Continuing to rely on antibiotics perpetuates a factory farming model that would otherwise be unsustainable without their excessive use. It's time to move away from these practices and embrace an agroecological future."
Published Tuesday 21 November 2023
Sustain: Sustain The alliance for better food and farming advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity.
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