The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance has said it is disappointed in a recent early day motion laid in the UK House of Commons which calls for a reduction in the use of antibiotics by veterinary surgeons and farmers and for the routine prophylactic use of antibiotics on UK farms to be phased out.
The motion says that the overuse of antibiotics in intensive farming "adds to the serious public health threat from antibiotic resistance and the rise of superbugs, and the motions sponsors "welcome the government's efforts to reduce over-prescribing by doctors" and would like to see specific controls introduced on the use in livestock of antibiotics that are critically important in human medicine.
“RUMA is disappointed by this EDM, which repeats and relies on some of the myths on the use of antibiotics in agriculture and the impact this has on antibiotic resistance in humans,” said John FitzGerald, alliance secretary general. According to the organization, antibiotic resistance is an important health issue and the alliance supports the initiatives on responsible use in both human and animal medicine. Antibiotics are important for maintaining the health of both humans and animals, and it is important that all parties work together to ensure that antibiotics remain an effective tool in the treatment of humans and animals so that when they need to be used they can be.
"There is, however, scientific consensus that use of antimicrobials in human medicine, rather than antibiotic use in the veterinary sector, is the driving force for antibiotic resistant human infections," said the alliance. In addition, the organization said it believes that “prevention is better than cure,” and cautions against actions to ban preventive treatment. "There are many disease scenarios in livestock animals where prophylactic use of antibiotics is an essential part of responsible veterinary care for the protection of animal health and welfare," said the alliance. "It must be emphasized that any such preventive and control treatment of animals is always under the control of the prescribing veterinary surgeon who will use diagnostic, clinical and epidemiological information to inform their prescribing decisions."