This Week's Poultry News Round-Up

ANALYSIS - The US and EU appear to be taking up quite different positions over the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture, writes ThePoultrySite's senior editor, Jackie Linden, while the EU is also moving towards greener policies for agriculture. Bird flu continues to rumble on in ostriches in South Africa's Western Cape.
calendar icon 8 December 2011
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Are the US and EU on a collision course over antibiotics in animal agriculture, asks editor-in-chief, Chris Harris, in an opinion piece on ThePoultrySite this week.

He explains that in the EU, the European Commission has introduced an action plan detailing 12 concrete actions to be implemented in close cooperation with the Member States.

European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli has said: "We need to take swift and determined action if we do not want to lose antimicrobial medicines as essential treatment against bacterial infections in both humans and animals.

The Action Plan specifically states that more action should be taken to ensure that antimicrobials are used appropriately in animals. It also calls for improved monitoring and surveillance of antimicrobial use.

In the US, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has refused two long-standing petitions to limit the use of antibiotics on farms, explaining it will opt for a voluntary code for the reduction in the use of antibiotics and adding that to ban them could lead to lengthy and expensive litigation.

The FDA's stance comes in the face of research from Tufts University School of Medicine, calling for stricter regulation of the practice of using antibiotics for non-therapeutic reasons.

It is this dichotomy between the stance being taken by the FDA in the US and the stricter stance of the European Commission that could lead to potential troubles.

With the EU tightening its controls on antibiotic use, having already banned their use as growth promoters, it would seem that a head-on collision between the EU and the US is inevitable and the fall-out could be considerable and costly.

Greening of farming often makes farmers see red, which appears to be the case with the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) proposals. Earlier this week, a panel representing the EU, environmentalists and farmers debated the 30 per cent greening element. Charlotte Johnston, ThePoultrySite editor, reports.

At the British Poultry Council (BPC) annual awards in London this week, four of the industry's long-standing supporters were honoured and scholarships were awarded to two outstanding young researchers, reports ThePoultrySite senior editor, Jackie Linden.

On bird flu, the South African veterinary authority has reported finding evidence of infection with the H5N2 sub-type of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus at four more ostrich farms in Western Cape province in October. Initially, no clinical signs or mortalities were seen and although the birds were HI-positive, no PCR-positives have been found.

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