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Veterinary medicinal products: an issue for human health

  • Proposed by: Bündnis 90/Die Grünen
  • Adopted at the 4th Global Greens Congress, Liverpool 2017


It’s a fact that 80% of all antibiotics used in animal health are also used in human medicine. This alone shows us, that the use of these substances has a much higher significance than general supplies which are required for the daily running of animal farming establishments.

Operative Text:

Amongst these medicinal products are: antibiotics; hormones; pain relievers and biological agents. The responsibility for the use of such veterinary medicinal products must lie in the hands of a highly qualified expert. These qualifications are held only by a veterinarian. The veterinarian has the knowledge and responsibility for the prescribing of these medicinal products, including antibiotics, and for physically examining the livestock. The success of the prescribed therapy must be controlled thereafter.  Irrespective of who supplies the medicinal products, it must be ensured that any economic interest in the sale of the product is separated from the prescription and administering of the products.

History shows us that uncontrolled usage of antibiotics has created resistance in bacteria which cause infectious disease.  It is of paramount importance that the antibiotic substances, known as ‘critically important antimicrobials’, are understood by all Europeans to mean the same.  These antibiotics should, under normal circumstances, not be allowed to be used for livestock.

Antibiotics with special importance for human medicine have been identified and defined by WHO. The use of these antibiotics, called 'critically important antimicrobials', should be reduced to a minimum on livestock.  The historical belief that bacteria resistance could be repeatedly overcome with newly developed antibiotics has been proven wrong. Therefore responsible and appropriate use of antibiotics is more important than ever in order to prevent the development of multi-resistant bacteria.

The W.H.O. in its report ‘Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance’ published in April, 2014 states:

A post-antibiotic era – in which common infections and minor injuries can kill – far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century.  The repercussions of antimicrobial resistance are already felt today – moving Sustainable Development Goal No. 3 (“Ensure Healthy Lives”) further away from us.  Some 700 000 people die of drug-resistant infections every year. Low- and middle-income countries face the greatest burden of rising drug-resistant infections.  It is of course, a well-known fact that human medicine must also react. Administrative bodies for both animal and human health must work together to develop regulations on research and for the use of antibiotics in order to achieve the ultimate goal of ‘One Health’.

To enable the fulfilment of these demands the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which is one of the leading admission boards for veterinary medicinal products, should be independent and strengthened against lobbyist influences. Therefore, the influence of leading pharmaceutical companies on the EFSA should be minimized to ensure that economic reasons do not overrule the more important issues of human and animal health.


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