MEPs adopt new veterinary medicine rules

European Parliament moves to better tackle antimicrobial resistance.

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

10 Mar 2016

MEPs have approved draft plans to update EU laws on veterinary medicines, calling for a ban on the collective and preventive use of antibiotics on animals. The measure is one of a series that the European Parliament is currently working on to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

Rapporteur Françoise Grossetête said, “With the World Health Organization warning us that the world risks drifting into a post-antibiotic era, in which antibiotic resistance would cause more deaths each year than cancer, it is high time we took energetic measures and grasped the problem at its roots.”

“The fight against antibiotic resistance must start on farms. We wish to prohibit the purely preventive use of antibiotics, restrict collective treatment to very specific cases, prohibit the veterinary use of antibiotics that are critically important for human medicine and put an end to online sales of antibiotics, vaccines and psychotropic substances. Thanks to these measures, we hope to reduce the amounts of antibiotics found on consumers’ plates.” she added.


The French MEP also noted that, “We need not reduce the therapeutic arsenal available to vets. This law aims to facilitate their work. It is absolutely necessary to encourage research and innovation in this sector.”

Deputies also voted to amend marketing authorisation procedures for veterinary medicinal products so that they are set apart from rules for medicines for humans. The dossier rapporteur, Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu, commented; “This reform will improve efficiency and availability of medicines in Europe.

It will also contribute to safeguarding human health and the environment. It will tackle the overuse of antibiotics in farming practices and their negative consequences on human health, such as antimicrobial resistance.”

"We want to restrict the use of antibiotics for both prophylactic and metaphylactic purposes and establish a list of antibiotics reserved solely for human use. Human medicines should be used only as the last resort in the treatment of animals.”

Michèle Rivasi, a Vice-Chair of Parliament’s Greens/EFA group, said; “While it is crucial to reduce the use of antibiotics, it is also important to promote alternative methods of treatment.”

She was therefore pleased that MEPs adopted a resolution authored by her group, which promotes the use of homeopathy.


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