The overuse of antibiotics in farming is undermining modern medicine’s ability to cure life-threatening infections. Globally, the incidence of dangerous, pathogenic bacteria that are resistant to the effects of antibiotics are increasing.
Ten million people a year could die from untreatable antibiotic-resistant infections by 2050 if we fail to take decisive action now. Commonplace medical procedures such as hip replacements, cancer chemotherapy, organ transplants and the treatment of pre-term babies, would be far less safe.
Worldwide, it is estimated that 66% of all antibiotics are used in animals, not people. Much of this use is routine and in low doses, enabling livestock to be kept in unhygienic, overcrowded and stressful conditions in factory farms. These conditions are ideal to allow resistant bacteria to flourish, and once products from these animals enter the food chain, it contributes to human antibiotic resistance.
The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics brings together health, medical, civil-society, farming, and animal-welfare groups and campaigns to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animal farming. It was founded in 2009 by Compassion in World Farming, the Soil Association and Sustain.
Our vision is a world in which human and animal health and well-being are protected by food and farming systems that do not rely on routine antibiotic use. A ‘one health’ approach is needed to deal with antibiotic resistance which aims at achieving optimal health outcomes and recognises that human, animal and environmental health are all interconnected.
The Alliance’s advocacy efforts have contributed to a landmark new regulation coming into force across the EU in January 2022, introducing a host of tighter legal restrictions including a ban on all routine use of antibiotics but global action is needed to safeguard our antibiotics worldwide.
In Asia, the Far East and Oceania, for example, farm antibiotic sales per livestock unit are nearly four times higher than in Europe.
Visit the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics website to find out more.