When it comes to their own cat or dog, a lot of people don’t understand jokes. There is great concern that something could happen to beloved roommates. It’s no wonder, then, that pet owners listen intently when life-saving antibiotics are supposed to be banned.
This is exactly what a campaign by the Federal Association of Veterinary Practitioners suggests, for example on a poster with sad doggy eyes and the alarming inscription “My life is in danger!” – and below in large print: “Please sign that everything is done for my health in the future.” These posters are currently displayed in many veterinary surgeries, along with signature collection forms. The excitement is great. But is this also justified?
The campaign is against the backdrop of plans at EU level to curb the massive use and abuse of antibiotics in large stalls, for example for pigs and poultry. Antibiotics, particularly important in human medicine, should be banned from the stables. The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has therefore asked the European Commission to officially classify five groups of antibiotics as so-called reserve antibiotics. Reserve antibiotics are drugs that are used for serious infectious diseases when other antibiotics no longer work.
Treatment of individual animals also with reserve antibiotics
At the same time, the commission is to present a bill that will also allow the so-called treatment of individual animals with these reserve antibiotics. This means that pets must continue to be treated with the active ingredients.
The Federal Association of Practicing Veterinarians (bpt), on the other hand, takes a completely different view of the situation: pet owners need to know what is going on in large part in Brussels and what consequences the feared decision will have for their pets. animals. , says Siegfried Moder, president of the Federal Association in a call for a signature campaign. The point is that the European Parliament ignores the scientific facts and not only, as has been said, farm animals are affected by a ban on use, but all animal species. He leaves open what scientific facts, in his opinion, are being ignored.
Molder continues: “For the welfare of all animals, therefore, we must ensure that all veterinary approved antibiotics continue to be available for treatment in the future. Otherwise, in the worst case scenario, it would result in the death of many animals.
MEP Martin Häusling (Greens), member of the Environment Committee, vehemently contradicts this representation: “The medical care of pets and individual animals with antibiotics is neither now nor in the future threatened” , says Häusling. A “radical ban on antibiotics” is not in sight, either directly or indirectly. “Dangerous nonsense is spreading here,” Häusling criticized. The deputy receives support, among others, from German environmental aid. According to his own information, he commissioned an expert opinion which shows that it is legally possible to exempt pets such as horses, dogs or cats from the new rules.
Open detailed view
Thousands of chickens in a house make animals susceptible to diseases, which are often fought with antibiotics.
(Photo: Patrick Pleul / dpa)
In fact, there might be something else behind the emotional debate besides the veterinary association’s concerns about Bello and Mieze. Because the use of antibiotics is also a lucrative activity, not only for the pharmaceutical industry, but especially for veterinary surgeries specializing in stalls for large animals and which profit from the distribution of antibiotics. According to industry insiders, manufacturers often give generous discounts; the more they are purchased, the greater the price reduction. It is not an incentive to consume less. Reserve antibiotics, important for humans, are still frequently used in poultry and pig farming, as data from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture shows. Here too, we see that it is urgent to act.
There is now a broad social consensus that fewer antibiotics should be used. Because the more it is administered, the more likely it is that multidrug-resistant pathogens will develop; these “are spreading worldwide and could threaten the safe treatment of deadly infectious diseases in the near future,” according to the German Infection Research Center. The World Health Authority (WHO) has been warning about this for years.
The European Parliament is due to vote in September on the restriction of antibiotics in animal husbandry. A new regulation could come into force next year.