Antibiotic use in livestock farming

If animals become ill, it may be necessary to treat them with medicinal products. Antibiotics may be used in food-supplying animals only after prescription by the veterinarian.

The use of antibiotics in animal husbandry favours the development of resistance and the spread of bacteria with resistance. Antibiotic resistance means that the pathogens are insensitive to certain antibiotics. However, it is not yet possible to assess the extent to which the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry contributes to the problem of resistance in human medicine.

In the context of food extraction, resistant germs from animal production can be transferred to foodstuffs, e.g. meat or milk. Through food, but also through direct animal contact, resistant pathogens can also reach the consumer and may cause infections in humans. If therapy is required, but the antibiotic used does not work, infections with resistant germs can last longer, run more severely, or even end up deadly.

In order to prevent a further increase in resistance, the BFR (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment) should limit the use of antibiotics to what is necessarily a therapeutic measure. Efforts to keep the animals healthy so that treatments do not become necessary at all should be in the foreground. A concept to minimise the use of antibiotics in livestock farming was enshrined in law with the 16th AMG amendment.

(Source: BFR (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment): Questions and answers on the effects of antibiotic use in livestock farming)


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