Aiming for better human and animal health will play central role in reducing antimicrobial resistance


Brussels, 20 November 2023: With the focus of this year’s European Antibiotics Awareness Day on the 2030 targets to prevent and reduce antimicrobial resistance, EPRUMA partners believe that aiming for overall improved health for both people and animals needs to remain the key objective.

The targets set out in the Council Recommendation on stepping up EU actions to combat antimicrobial resistance are a welcome step towards a more One Health focused effort to reduce the need for antibiotic use, but further promotion of preventive health measures is needed to truly reduce disease occurrence in the first place.

The successes of preventive measures and more holistic animal husbandry practices over the past decade are continuously reflected in the decreasing trends shown in the European Medicines Agency’s annual ESVAC report. The latest report with 2022 sales data shows that veterinary antibiotic sales have decreased 53% on average across the EU, UK and EEA since 2011, hitting the 2030 Farm to Fork strategy target at the halfway mark.

Reflecting on discussions during the annual AMR awareness-raising week, EPRUMA Chair Cat McLaughlin stated:

As EPRUMA, we insist on the widely accepted principles of “prevention is better than cure” and “as little as possible, as much as necessary” when it comes to antibiotic use. Protecting animal health through preventive means, ensuring holistic care, and using antibiotics only when necessary, is the best way to reduce the need for antibiotic treatment.

Setting targets and collecting data is a necessary part of addressing the challenge of antimicrobial resistance. As disease situations and practices vary across countries whether for human, plant or animal health, such actions must also be underpinned by enhanced surveillance of use, what diseases are being treated and where are antibiotics needed. Together with promotion of preventive measures and hygiene control, such data collection can offer greater clarity as to what actions can be most effective for addressing resistance development.

EPRUMA partners will continue efforts to ensure antibiotics are used responsibly in farming and animal care. As antibiotics remain valuable tools to treat infectious bacterial diseases in people, animals, and plants, so it is our duty to do our utmost to ensure they remain effective for all.