A report has found that significantly more recording of veterinary medicines will have to be done to meet EU targets in the pipeline.

The Department of Agriculture is already seeking input from stakeholders on legislation set to make the prescription of oral animal doses and wormers compulsory in 2022.

However, the report found that there is currently a level of vagueness in the recording of antibiotics.

Some 19t of oral antibiotics were not accounted for in these industries

For example, the report showed that while it had been thought that pig and poultry farms used the majority of antibiotics, some 19t of oral antibiotics were not accounted for in these industries.

Authors of the report - Current antimicrobial use in farm animals in the Republic of Ireland - suggested they could be used in the treatment of sick calves or laying hens, but pointed to the fact that no investigations had been carried out to look into the matter.

They also highlighted a major issue in the sheep sector, where they said there was no data available to estimate quantities of medicine used in the sector.

They compared the Irish system to Holland where there was already a robust farm-specific recording system in place.


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has become a primary concern for EU health officials.

Reduction in pesticides and stricter animal welfare rules have been outlined in the EU's Farm to Fork strategy and targets have already been set to tighten rules around antibiotic use on farms.

Less intensive industries such as the beef and sheep sectors have a long way to go

While pig farmers make up just a small percentage of overall farms in Ireland, they will be required under Bord Bia rules to input all their antibiotic use in order to qualify for its Quality Assurance Scheme in 2020.

“While progress has been made in the pig and poultry sectors, the less intensive industries, such as the beef and sheep sectors, have a long way to go with regards to providing a comprehensive overview of AMU. Progress cannot be demonstrated in the absence of data collection,” the report concluded.