News | 18 November 2021

Preserve the most important antibiotics - stronger regulation in animal husbandry!

An appeal from human and veterinary medicine on the occasion of EUROPEAN ANTIBIOTIC AWARENESS DAY 2021

Modern medicine is unthinkable without antibiotics. Their availability for the treatment of bacterial infectious diseases saves countless lives worldwide every day. Due to the increasing emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), we are currently in danger of losing effective antibiotics - nothing less than global health is at stake. The high and regular use of antibiotics in animal husbandry, which fosters antimicrobial resistance, is therefore no longer acceptable.

A threat of pandemic proportions

Already today, 670,000 people in the EU alone contract infections caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogens every year, and 33,000 people die as a result. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the burden of infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the European population is comparable to that of influenza, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined. By 2050, 390,000 AMR-related deaths are projected annually in Europe and 10 million deaths globally. This is more than the projected number of deaths caused by cancer and diabetes combined. Thus, in both human and veterinary medicine, the threat of AMR needs to be addressed much more decisively in the spirit of the One Health approach, which thinks closely about human, animal, and environmental health.

Seize current opportunities to regulate antibiotics in animal husbandry more strongly

We call on the European Commission and the responsible ministries in the Member States to take far-reaching preventive measures and to seize opportunities that present themselves - especially in the veterinary field:

  • Exclude the most important antibiotics classified by the WHO as "critically important antimicrobials of highest priority" (CIA HP) from use in industrial animal husbandry! This is possible through the current drafting of a new antibiotics act (Art. 37 (5) of Regulation (EU) 2019/6). At the same time, create the possibility of individual animal treatment for pets, among others (e.g. via two separate lists).
  • Consistently exclude CIA HP from use in industrial livestock farming also via the national AMR action plans!
  • In the course of the current revision of EU animal welfare legislation and national processes for the restructuring of animal husbandry, focus in particular on the aspect of animal health via breeding, husbandry and feeding! This also includes approaches to on-farm and general stock reduction.

This human and veterinary appeal is also supported by a broad alliance of organisations from areas such as environmental and animal protection.

The following organisations support this appeal:

  • Ärzte gegen Massentierhaltung n.e.V. (Doctors against Factory Farming)
  • Ärztenetz Bielefeld e.V. Projekt Antibiotische Therapie in Bielefeld – AnTiB
  • Apotheker ohne Grenzen Deutschland e.V. | Pharmacists without borders Germany
  • BUKO-Pharma-Kampagne – Gesundheit und Dritte Welt e.V.
  • Compassion in World Farming EU
  • Cystic Fibrosis Europe
  • Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V. (Environmental Action Germany)
  • Difäm - Deutsches Institut für Ärztliche Mission e.V. (German Institute for Medical Mission)
  • Germanwatch e.V.
  • Gesellschaft für ganzheitliche Tiermedizin e.V.
  • Greenpeace e.V.
  • Initiative Bielefelder Hausärzte
  • Liga für Hirtenvölker und nachhaltige Viehwirtschaft e.V. (League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Development)
  • MEZIS Mein Essen zahl ich selbst – Initiative unbestechlicher Ärztinnen und Ärzte
  • Missionsärztliches Institut (Medical Mission Institute)
  • MRSA Action UK
  • Mukoviszidose e.V. – Bundesverband Cystische Fibrose
  • Pestizid Aktions-Netzwerk e.V. (PAN-Germany)
  • PROVIEH e.V.
  • Stiftung gesunde Erde gesunde Menschen gGmbH
  • Tierärzte für verantwortbare Landwirtschaft e.V. (Veterinarians for Responsible Agriculture)
  • Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V.
  • Verein demokratischer Pharmazeutinnen und Pharmazeuten e.V.
  • Verein Demokratischer Ärztinnen und Ärzte e.V.

Would you like to join our appeal as an organisation? Then please get in touch with

Konstantinos Tsilimekis, Team Leader - World Food, Land Use and Trade

Tel. +49 (0)30 / 57 71 328-82