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Revered Paper Attacked for Antibiotics Prejudice

28 November 2014, at 1:53pm

GERMANY – A highly regarded German newspaper is being attacked by farmers for using “bogus facts“ to produce a one-sided account of livestock antibiotics.

An article in Die Zeit (The Times) linked German animal agriculture with a rise in antibiotic resistance in what German farmers have called an unbalanced presentation.

Werner Schwarz, vice-president of the German Farmer Association (DBV) wrote it was time to say “goodbye” to the publication from the world of quality journalism.

In a letter to the editor of Die Zeit, he said that 'Revenge of the Stall' “shocked and disappointed” the farming industry, accusing the article of prejudice.

He wrote: “Your weekly newspaper was seen by me as one of the last bastions of the quality German journalism. Die Zeit stood for objectivity, genuine research…”

In response, the DBV pointed to Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety figures that showed a decline in antimicrobial usage, both in livestock and pets.

It stressed that agriculture was on the “right track” and dismissed the article as using “subjective perceptions” instead of quoting technical explanations.

Mr Werner added: "The issue is too serious and too complex for unilateral and lurid blame.

"Farmers face up to their responsibilities and have already brought a voluntary monitoring program to reduce the use of antibiotics for three years."

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