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Livestock farming standards to get boost under antimicrobial-resistance plan

The European Commission has unveiled plans to promote better global livestock farming standards in a bid to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in animals and humans.

The three-pillared “action plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance” aims to take a coordinated and collaborative approach to encouraging best practices in the treatment of farm animals.

It also wants to drive more targeted research and innovation to find new ways to treat and prevent animal diseases without antibiotics.

Innovative ideas

Launched in June 2017, the action plan sets out detailed proposals to address the problem of AMR, which is estimated to cause 25,000 deaths a year globally and cost an extra €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) in healthcare every year.

It follows the adoption of proposed legislative guidelines on veterinary medicines that were agreed upon by the European Commission in 2015 and should be legally binding by 2018.

Under one pillar of the action plan, the commission says it will update legislation on monitoring and reporting AMR to put the EU at the forefront of combating the issue.

It’s hoped that changing legislation will enable countries to share innovative ideas and mutual learning, and encourage co-funding across member states.

Incentivizing innovation

By boosting research and innovation, as outlined in the second pillar, the commission wants to incentivize innovation and provide input for science-based policies.

Funding will focus on improving knowledge on how to control infections, as well as surveillance, new diagnostics and the development of preventive vaccines.

The final pillar will focus on shaping the global agenda to encourage engagement and collaboration between the EU and some of the developing countries most affected by AMR.

It also includes plans to build on large-sale international research initiatives to develop global research further.

Ambitious agenda

Vytenis Andriukaitis, commissioner for health and food safety, said: “Antimicrobial resistance is a global growing threat, and if we do not step up our action and commitment now, by 2050 it could cause more deaths than cancer.

“[This] ambitious agenda focuses actions on key areas with the highest added value for EU countries.

“By promoting prudent use of antimicrobials in people and animals, consolidating surveillance, improving data collection and boosting research, I aim to make the EU a best-practice region worthy of shaping the global agenda on AMR in this increasingly interconnected world.”

 


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