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Record fall in use of antibiotics in livestock in 2018

17:38 19/06/2019

The use of antibiotics in livestock in Belgium decreased by 12.8% last year in comparison to the year before, the biggest annual fall since 2011. The figure was reported today by Amcra, Belgium’s expertise centre on the use and resistance of antibiotics in animals.

A few years ago, the centre entered an agreement with the federal government and farmers to decrease the total use of antibiotics in the country’s livestock by 50% by 2020, compared to the 2011 levels of use. The centre was not only concerned about antibiotic resistance in the animals, but also to humans who consume the meat.

“Antibiotics are administered in various ways to farm animals, not just in their feed,” Amcra chair Jeroen Dewulf, also a professor at Ghent University, told VRT. “And an overuse of antibiotics leads to resistance, which poses a risk to the health of the animals but also to the people who eat the meat. That’s why we took action to significantly reduce the amount of antibiotics used.”

At the end of 2018, the reduction in antibiotics reached 35.4% on 2011. “So we’re absolutely not there yet,” said Dewulf, “ but I’m convinced we can still reach the target by the end of next year.”

Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw

Comments

CM

For comparison, it would be interesting to know what percentage the use of antibiotics is in a country like the US.

Jun 19, 2019 19:11
Frank Lee

CM, it's difficult to find recent numbers, but the US has established new rules in 2017 that are very similar to the EU's, and it is widely believed that the use of antibiotics is falling there as well. The rise and success of Beyond Meat (a tasty vegetarian alternative that tastes and feels just like the real thing) on the American market might just be the solution to this problem.

Jun 20, 2019 12:39