Pressure on Spain, Italy to Reduce Growing Animal Antibiotic Use

EU - Antibiotic consumption in livestock production is increasing drastically in Italy and Spain.
calendar icon 7 November 2016
clock icon 3 minute read

"The EU must tackle increasing antibiotic consumption - particularly in South European countries," said the Danish Minister for Environment and Food, Esben Lunde Larsen, following a statement from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) that shows that antibiotic consumption in Italy and Spain has risen by around 20-25 per cent from 2013 to 2014.

This has prompted the Danish Minister for Environment and Food, Esben Lunde Larsen, to increase pressure on the EU to take action.

"The fact that the consumption of antibiotics appears to have risen by at least one fifth in Italy and Spain is appalling – this is a step in the wrong direction. Therefore, I will address this issue at a future council meeting in the European Union, so we can discuss and plan how to take action against the increasing antibiotic consumption in South European livestock sheds," said the Minister.

The most recent statement from the EMA shows that in 2014 Danish antibiotic consumption was at 44.2 mg/PCU (production correction unit). In comparison, consumption in Spain was at 418 mg/PCU and consumption in Italy was at 359.9 mg/PCU.

According to the statement, Denmark has lower consumption than the Netherlands, Germany and Poland; countries with which Denmark normally compares its antibiotic consumption.

National figures show that since 2009 consumption of antibiotics in Danish pig sheds has fallen by more than one fifth. This can be attributed to the fact that in 2010 Denmark was the only EU Member State to introduce a yellow card scheme for pig antibiotic consumption. The scheme means that farmers who overuse antibiotics will receive a warning and be ordered to reduce their antibiotic consumption.

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