E.U. groups urge responsible use of antibiotics in livestock

by World Grain Staff
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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM —On Sept. 27, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy John Dalli received a delegation representing the European Platform for the Responsible Use of Medicines in Animals (EPRUMA).

The EPRUMA initiative, created in 2005, stresses the importance of responsible use of veterinary medicines, including antibiotics, both in food-producing animals and pets. It is an unprecedented joint initiative including European veterinarians, farmers, feed manufacturers, animal health and sanitary security specialists, sustainable agriculture specialists, the animal health industry and pharmacists.

"The promotion of animal health and welfare through the Responsible Use of veterinary medicines is intertwined with the health of Europe's patients and consumers, and hence an essential component of public health. I am pleased to see such a broad variety of sectors joining forces through EPRUMA to bring a valuable contribution to the European Commission initiative "Animals + Humans = One Health", Dalli said.

EPRUMA advocates a holistic approach to disease prevention and control by combining biosecurity measures, good housing, appropriate nutrition and regular monitoring of animal health and welfare. It supports the use of tailored herd health plans specific to individual farms to best treat disease and the use of vaccines, as well as the use of medicines according to the instructions.

Declan O'Brien, speaking on behalf of EPRUMA, requested the commission to make responsible use a key policy initiative and to collaborate with EPRUMA in communicating its concept.

"We need to work together in communicating the EPRUMA concept so that we make a difference on the ground in terms of achieving our common goal to maintain the long-term efficacy of medicines, including antibiotics," he said.

He added that antibiotics should be used according to the principles of "as little as possible, as much as necessary".

To communicate on the responsible use of veterinary medicines, EPRUMA has launched a website, www.epruma.eu, which features a brochure on best-practice for the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals available in eight E.U. languages, as well as joint initiatives undertaken by EPRUMA at national and European level.

EPRUMA partners will be present at the upcoming congress of European Farmers in Brussels on Oct. 4-6.

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