The EU is due to introduce restrictions on antibiotic use in food animals over the next three years. Irish use is quite low, the MSD animal health conference in the RDS heard, putting us in a good position to deal with the new rules.
Irish farmers use one-eighth the amount of antibiotics used by farmers in Spain on a per-animal basis
“A recent EU report shows that Ireland is near the bottom of the European league in the use of antibiotics in animals,” Fergal Morris, director of ruminant business with MSD Animal Health, said at the conference. “Irish farmers use one-eighth the amount of antibiotics used by farmers in Spain on a per-animal basis, which is the highest user of antibiotics in the EU.
“Farmers in Italy use seven times more antibiotics than their Irish counterparts while the average German farmer uses three times more than the average Irish producer.”
The lower usage of antibiotics is a reflection of our grass-based milk, beef and sheep production and the relatively low levels of intensive pig and poultry production.
“This is due to the strict biosecurity policies which are used by producers combined with a big increase in recent years in vaccination of pigs and poultry to protect against the major disease threats,” Morris said.
Antibiotic use by farmers in the Netherlands has been reduced by more than 50% over the past seven years. However, overall antibiotic use is still around 50% higher than in Ireland.
“In the Netherlands and Belgium, use of critically important antibiotics (CIAs) has been cut by more than 90%,” he said.
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