I would like to commend the recent letter by Mike Magan regarding antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

AMR is now recognised as one of the world’s most important health challenges with possible devastating consequences on not only animal and human health, but also food security and the environment.

Antimicrobial use in agriculture and human and veterinary medicine is associated with the increase in AMR.

Some researchers predict that AMR will cause 10 million deaths every year by 2050 (400,000 of these in Europe), surpassing cancer as the leading cause of mortality worldwide.

The recent report from the European Medicines Agency shows sales of veterinary antibiotics have decreased on average 53% across Europe since 2011.


When we look deeper into the report, we see that the median sales for food producing animals in mg/PCU is 47.6 against an Irish figure of 42.4.

It is positive that we are below the European average, but we are lagging behind our UK neighbours who are at 28.3mg/PCU.

With European Antibiotic Awareness Day kicking off World AMR Awareness Week recently, one must wonder why the relevant stakeholders here in Ireland (farm organisations, dairy co-ops etc) have not been highlighting anything, either to farmers themselves, or indeed to the general public on what farmers can do and are doing to combat AMR.

Both Teagasc and Animal Health Ireland have some fantastic resources online.

The videos from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on the Farm Sustainability Hub from Bord Bia are also hugely beneficial.

Farmers need to work closely with their veterinary practitioners on herd health plans, including preventative strategies, enhanced biosecurity, improved husbandry and strategic use of vaccines.

A One Health co-ordinated stakeholder approach is needed to combat AMR. There is a lot done, but much more to do.