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State is to limit the spread of antibiotic resistance in animal husbandry

24. April 2017 - 17:30
Photo: Katrin Press / Ministry of Rural Affairs

Tarmo Tamm, the Minister for Rural Affairs, approved the Action Plan for Reduction of Microbial Antibiotic Resistance in Veterinary Medicine 2017–2021. The action plan sets the objective to reduce the use of antibiotics in farmed animals and pets by 30 percent by 2020.

“The spread of microbial resistance is globally becoming one of the greatest threats to human and animal health. To tackle this threat, excessive and improper use of antibiotics in both human and veterinary medicine should be reduced,” Minister for Rural Affairs Tarmo Tamm said. “Although the use of antibiotics in livestock farming is not excessive in Estonia compared to other European countries, we still need to work to ensure even more responsible and more focused use of antibiotics.”

In order to limit the spread of antibiotic resistance, it is intended to raise the awareness of veterinarians, animal keepers and medicated feed and food business operators, strengthen surveillance and contribute to research and applied research.

Compared to other countries, antibiotic resistance is currently at a medium level in Estonia, but the statistics of the State Agency of Medicines point to an increasing trend of the total quantities of systemic anti-infectives sold for veterinary use. Studies commissioned by the Ministry of Rural Affairs indicate that the total quantity of active substances sold grew by 1194.8 kg or 15.1% between 2012 and 2013. The overall objective of the action plan is to maintain the current level of quantities sold and to reduce the use of antibiotics, including critical antibiotics in farmed animals and pets by 30 percent by 2020.

“We must ensure that high-quality, safe and effective medicines and medicated feeds are available to animal keepers, and above all that their use is always medically justified, analysed and verifiable. To this end, we intend to strengthen training and information, as well as supervision over the prescription and use of antibiotics,” Tamm added.

The European Commission and the EU Member States have taken vigorous action to limit microbial resistance caused by improper and negligent use of antibiotics. At the ministerial conference that took place in Amsterdam in early February 2016, it was decided that by mid-2017 all the Member States would develop a national action plan to regulate the use of antimicrobial agents and limit the spread of resistance.

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