EU approves restrictions on animal antibiotics, a win for animal welfare and public health – SAFE

By   /   November 7, 2018  /   No Comments

SAFE is applauding the European Parliament for taking a bold and necessary step towards improved animal welfare, by banning the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in meat production by 2022.

Along with a complete ban on the use of human reserve antibiotics in veterinarian medicine, the European Parliament has banned the use of unprescribed animal antibiotics, routinely used in chicken production, to prevent diseases that would otherwise spread rapidly in intensive factory farms.

In light of the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections, these new standards will require a vet to prescribe antibiotics to specific animals that need them and will also apply to imports of animal meat into the European Union (EU).

SAFE Head of Campaigns Marianne Macdonald welcomes the news, however, warns that New Zealand will be lagging behind if similar changes aren’t made domestically.

“Because of the nature of intensive factory farming where animals are kept in cramped, filthy and unhealthy conditions, disease can spread rapidly.”

“Chickens bred for meat are kept in large, barren sheds in cramped conditions, standing in their own filth. Without antibiotics routinely being added to their feed, disease would be rampant in these sheds. It’s time for the horrific conditions that chickens bred for meat are kept in to end. Without such cruel and intensive farming practices, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics on farmed animals will end.”

Currently, the New Zealand chicken meat industry uses the antibiotic Zinc Bacitracin, which is added to the birds’ feed.

“A ban on the wholesale use of unprescribed antibiotics in the EU will force the chicken meat industry to adapt its production methods and improve their animal welfare standards. This ban will apply to imports as well, so the NZ Government needs to act. Otherwise, New Zealand will be falling behind in both animal welfare and the protection of human health.”

Background
• In New Zealand, chickens bred for meat are kept in cramped sheds with 40,000 other chickens, in unhealthy conditions, standing in their own filth. Chicken feed is laced with antibiotics as a prophylactic, to treat diseases common in intensive factory farming.
• The European Parliament’s restrictions on animal antibiotics come in light of the overuse of antibiotics, which is a large contributing factor to the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections. Estimates are that 700,000 to several million deaths occur each year as a result of antibiotic resistance.
Content
Raw footage of NZ chicken sheds, which require chicken feed laced with antibiotics.
Images of NZ chicken sheds, which require chicken feed laced with antibiotics.

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