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Compassion helps drive international antibiotics reduction

News Section Icon Published 5/7/2024

Pigs in an intensive farm

Our International Affairs team has contributed to the development of new recommendations aimed at reducing international antibiotic use in farm animals.

The publication, ‘Call for actionable steps in response to the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance’, issued by the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Multi-Stakeholder Platform, outlines key recommendations for action on antimicrobial resistance. The recommendations are for consideration by UN Member States in the lead up to the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AMR in September.

Our international affairs team has been actively involved in the AMR Multi-Stakeholder Platform, which was established in November 2022 by the Quadripartite organisations ‒ the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH).

In the recommendations, the UN General Assembly Member States are encouraged to transform agrifood systems to significantly reduce antimicrobial use while optimizing animal health and animal welfare.

UN Member states urged to reduce antibiotics in farmed animals at High Level Meeting

The AMR Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Platform’s recommendations represent the consensus of a diverse group of stakeholders including UN organisations, academic institutions, governments, industry and NGOs.

During the September 2024 High-Level Meeting on AMR, all 193 UN General Assembly Member States will convene to draft a declaration charting a way forward to tackle antimicrobial resistance and its consequences.

Our Global Head of International Affairs, Eirini Pitsilidi, said:

“There is broad consensus that the world must reduce its antimicrobial use. With most antibiotics used in animals it is imperative we transform agri-food systems whilst optimising animal health and animal welfare. When it comes to animal agriculture, responsible use of antibiotics is reduced use.

“We are pleased to have contributed to the development of these recommendations and look forward to September’s declaration – which
presents an opportunity for countries to take ambitious and actionable commitments in tackling AMR.”

Overuse of antibiotics in industrial animal agriculture

Factory farms can be a hotbed for disease transmission. Crowded and stressful conditions allow dangerous pathogens to spread easily among animals.

To remain efficient and profitable, factory farms often administer antibiotics and other antimicrobials to groups of animals, even when those animals are not ill. This preventative and mass use of antibiotics contributes to AMR, a ‘silent pandemic’ affecting the health of animals and humans worldwide as life-saving medicines are rendered ineffective due to their misuse and overuse.

In 2019, nearly 5 million people—the equivalent of nearly two-thirds of London’s population—suffered deaths associated with AMR*. Without action, that number could rise to 10 million deaths per year by 2050**.




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