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Germans Reduce Animal Antibiotic Use

3 August 2015, at 12:00am

GERMANY - Germany has had noticeable success in reducing the amount of antibiotics prescribed by veterinarians, according to the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL).

The amount of antibiotics given out by vets in 2014 went down by 15 per cent (214 tons) compared to 2013.

Compared to the first report in 2011, the vets have reduced antibiotics by 27 per cent. The German Farmers' Association (DBV) said this shows the industry's success in reducing and optimising the use of antibiotics in livestock farming.

The BVL said that the data cannot be assigned to individual species, and they cannot show whether livestock or pets were given the drugs.

However, the prescribed amounts can be divided by region, and some of the regions most reduced in the delivery quantities are also some with strong agricultural livestock production.

The DBV said that antibiotic monitoring has contributed significantly to reducing the use of antibiotics, and has taken place in Germany since 2012 through a private database, and since 2014 by an official public antibiotics database.

Antibiotic resistance is a serious problem, and should be fought in animal husbandry as well as in human medicine.

The DBV has reaffirmed its commitment to responsible use of antibiotics and in particular a restrictive use of the so-called reserve antibiotics.

However, it said the use of reserve antibiotics must remain possible in cases when no other therapeutic alternative is available, and such use continues after careful consideration and in individual cases. A blanket ban of certain substances is rejected from the perspective of DBV, for animal welfare reasons.

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