EPHA Highlight More Sustainable Farming Methods to Help Reduce AMR
This week the EPHA (European Public Health Alliance) published an article on their stance in relation to the revision of the European Animal Welfare legislation as a way of improving animal welfare, reducing antimicrobial resistance and moving towards more sustainable animal farming.
In recent years, the EU have taken great strides to tackling the use of antibiotics in animal farming and has established that from January 2022, the routine use of antimicrobials in animal production will be banned. In 2017, the EU set out aims to establish themselves as a world leader in animal welfare standards using the ‘One Health’ approach and it is thought that this will be the leading factor in the review of the EU’s animal welfare legislation to reduce the risks of antimicrobial resistance for humans and animals.
Antimicrobial resistance is an important issue and poses a major health threat for humans and animals. There are practices that can be put in place to help minimise the need for excessive antibiotics in farming, these include; avoiding long transportation of young animals, this can help reduce stress levels and help stop the spread of diseases and infections when animals are in close contact. Another way is be to increase the space animals are kept in, particularly in indoor only farms, where less crowed spaces for animals will help decrease infections such as diarrhoea and respiratory issues. Following these practices would help farmers to reduce their antibiotic dependency, lead to better herd health and potentially lower the environmental pressures associated with large scale animal farming and pharmaceutical pollution.
The EPHA has also highlighted the need for transparent information on food labelling to show clear information on the supply chain. Following the successful implementation of the new egg labelling system based on the method of production, the EPHA supports the further rollout of this to all animal and fish based products and supports two options that have been highlighted by the EU.
The first option requires a framework to collate animal welfare claims at EU level to ensure there is clear and transparent information regarding the supply chain and ensure there is no unfair competition between breeders.
The second option would mean creating a criteria for a uniform EU label regarding animal welfare including the level of welfare provided, any transportation and slaughter. The EPHA also recommends that the label should present the farming method and the use of fast growing breeds. It is also recommended that the labelling should list the welfare standards and import information related to the animal in order to give a full overview of the supply chain to consumers.
To ensure the safe supply of antimicrobial free products, it’s important to test samples of meat, poultry and fish for a range of antibiotics that are routinely used. Biorex Food Diagnostics are an innovative manufacturer of ELISA based tests for the detection of a range of antibiotics and contaminants that are administered to animals and can pass through the food chain to the end product. There are tests available for; antibiotics, aminoglycosides, growth hormones and pesticides.
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