Antibiotics appeal

Slider Antibiotic Appeal

10 million deaths per year due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR)  is the alarming forecast for the year 2050 by the United Nations. This is  combined with the global mission: to contain the development of resistance and keep antibiotics effective. This as well addresses the problematic use of antibiotics in industrial animal husbandry. There is a lot that has to be done politically. This is our appeal:

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

An appeal from human and veterinary medicine

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.

Antibiotika-Appell Inhalte EN

Background information on our appeal

What is the general health threat?
What role does industrial animal husbandry play
What are CIA HP?
Current resistance situation

A (short) chronology of resistance evidence

In addition to regular governmental and European monitoring and reports (see above "Current resistance situation"), the results of individual investigations by NGOs, media and universities repeatedly point to the problem of antibiotic resistance. The following is a brief overview (without claim to completeness):

Who? When? What? Results


March 2022

NGO investigation

Samples of slaughterhouse wastewater

Wastewater samples from four slaughterhouses from two states.

35 of the 44 samples showed resistant bacteria, 8 of them even against reserve antibiotics.

Deutsche Umwelthilfe



Analysis of 62 turkey meat samples from different locations in Germany

31 Lidl and 31 Aldi stores

One in three turkey meat samples from Lidl and one in four from Aldi was contaminated with antibiotic-resistant germs.

On every fourth Lidl turkey meat sample (26 percent particularly health-threatening pathogens were found.




Ranking of EU chicken meat groups according to contamination with antibiotic-resistant pathogens

165 meat samples from the top 3 EU poultry meat groups.

More than one in two chicken meat samples (51 percent on average) from three of Europe's largest poultry groups carry resistance to one or more antibiotics at a time.

On average, more than one in three chickens (35 percent) carry antibiotic-resistant pathogens with resistance to emergency antibiotics (reserve antibiotics) into the food chain.




Antibiotic-resistant pathogens on chicken meat

59 chicken samples from industrial meat production - 56% were contaminated with germs.

Forschungsverbund RESET


Research project

Detection of resistance genes in animals and humans

Resistance gene mcr-1 (insensitive to colistin [CIA HP]) was found in three porcine and one human isolate.

Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety



Antibiotic Consumption and Dissemination of Antimicrobial-resistance in human and veterinary medicine in Germany

S. aureus isolates from poultry showed resistance rates up to almost 70% to the penicillins, tetracycline and erythromycin.

In isolates from pigs, a rate of Florfenicol, a proportion of 88% intermediate-resistant isolates was found.

Total antibiotics dispensed in veterinary medicine 2014: 1,238 t

HICARE in the course of the competition "Health Regions of the Future" by BMBF

2011 - 2015

HICARE - Action alliance against multi-resistant bacteria

(6 project fields)

In the course of the project, it became clear that for some multi-resistant pathogens, a link between reservoirs in humans and animals is epidemiologically significant.

BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany)

7.1.2015 (s. auch und auch)


Turkey meat sample of the BUND

88% of samples (50 out of 57) were contaminated with antibiotic-resistant germs.

Freie Universität Berlin


BMBF - Research project

Examination of farms and antimicrobial resistant bacteria

44 pig farms and 16 broiler farms were investigated - 60% of pigs and every broiler farm were suspected of ESBL.

Also: vegetables and soil treated with antibiotic-laden fertilizer showed residues. Vegetables were contaminated with ESBL microorganisms.

BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany)



Sample of the BUND

ESBL germs found on 10 of 20 meat samples

Stern TV



from Stern TV, 38 meat-samples examined

ESBL-positive germs found in 19 of 38 samples.

Pork: germs in two out of ten samples

Chicken meat: 17 out of 28 samples were contaminated.

Among them also samples with strict seals such as Demeter, Bio or Naturland.

Research-project RESET

2010 - 2017

Federal Ministry of Education and Research - Research project

Various studies on resistance in animals and humans

Samples with ESBL- or AmpC-producing e-coli were found in a very high proportion of the facilities investigated.

Under treatment of groups of animals with antibiotics, regardless of the method of application, carryover into the immediate environment of the animals can occur.

Paul-Ehrlich-Gesellschaft für Chemotherapie e.V. + BVL


GERMAP 2008 - Report on antibiotic consumption and prevalence of AR in human and veterinary medicine in Germany.  

A large number of new active ingredients for veterinary use are not expected in the future. Therefore, maintaining the efficacy of the active ingredients currently available for veterinary medicine is of particular importance. .

Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Education and Research

2008 - 2013

DART (2011)

In the veterinary field, the antibiotic resistance strategy aims to reduce the emergence and spread of resistance in human and animal pathogenic bacteria. Responsible use of antibiotics should ensure consumer health protection without compromising animal health.

Joint Committee on the Use of Antibiotics in Animal Husbandary and Veterinary Medicine 




Relationship between antibiotic use in feed and development of resistant bacterial strains in humans was discovered.

Antibiotic resistance: a global problem
Selected sources and information materials

An initiative of Germanwatch and the BUKO-Pharmakampagne.

Germanwatch und Buko Logo

The Alliance

The appeal is supported by the following organisations (as of 25.11.2021):

  • Animal Welfare Foundation e.V.
  • 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)
  • mensch fair tier e.V
  • Menschen für Tierrechte – Bundesverband der Tierversuchsgegner e.V.
  • 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)
  • ProVeg e.V.
  • PROVIEH e.V.
  • Slow Food Deutschland
  • Stiftung gesunde Erde gesunde Menschen gGmbH
  • Tierärzte für Tiere
  • 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

Germanwatch is solely responsible for all further information beyond the appeal on this page.

You can also download the content of this page as a shorter factsheet here >>