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DAFC calls for EU control of antibiotics

The use of antibiotics in livestock is extremely serious, particularly in Southern Europe. The Danish Agriculture and Food Council is challenging EU politicians to legislate on antibiotic usage.

Use of the strong, broad spectrum antibiotic, Colistin, is widespread in countries such as Italy, Spain and Germany. This is a problem because a high level of usage creates resistance. Martin Merrild, Chairman of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, has called on European politicians to take action.

So far, European health authorities have called for a 65 per cent reduction in the use of Colistin over a four-year period. However, if the situation is really to change, legislation is required.

“This is a highly unambitious approach to the problem,” says Martin Merrild.

“We can most certainly say in Denmark that it’s good we have other regulations, a different attitude and different controls. But people travel across borders, pick up infections and bring them home and as farmers, we buy and sell livestock.

Denmark’s antibiotic initiatives were recently praised by the EU Commission because the country’s various measures could serve as an illustration of potential good practices to other Member States. Requests, advice and guidance are simply not enough.

“This is an extremely serious problem which concerns me both as a human being and as a farmer. It’s clear that those countries that adopt a short-term approach and use antibiotics liberally are looking for immediate benefits because this is an easy way to deal with different diseases,” says Martin Merrild.


Sales of colistin in for use in animals in mg/PCU in 2013 (ESVAC data),
i
ncluding the 5 and 1 mg/PCU levels. No sales reported in Finland, Iceland and Norway.