Almost 8,000 animal-health experts from across Europe have warned MEPs that a proposed motion to impose an excessive ban on antibiotics would threaten the health and welfare of livestock and pets.

A motion for a resolution objecting to a ‘delegated regulation’, which outlines the criteria for the designation of antimicrobials that will be banned for use in animals, will be voted on by the European Parliament on September 16.

But an open letter – signed by the aforementioned experts – including heads of veterinary associations and chambers, deans of veterinary faculties, animal-welfare organisations, and human health and One Health associations was sent to MEPs this morning calling on them to reject the motion.

Essentially, the motion seeks to go beyond the new veterinary medicine regulations, which come into force in January 2022, and aims to impose an excessive ban on antibiotics.

Such a move, if voted in, could counteract the EU’s efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance, experts from organisations including the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), World Veterinary Association, Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), and Copa-Cogeca have warned.

Speaking about the motion, Nancy De Briyne, executive director of the FVE, said:

Antibiotic resistance is as much a threat to animals as it is to people, which is why the animal-health sector has supported collaborative efforts to tackle the threat of resistance without compromising livestock and companion-animal health and welfare.

“Restrictions on antibiotics for animals that go further than those justified by scientific evidence would result in unnecessary animal illness, suffering and losses.”

Rens van Dobbenburgh, president of the FVE, added:

“As veterinarians, we are disappointed to see a motion proposed that rejects science-based legislation, that will harm animal health and welfare without providing any real benefit to public health.

“Veterinarians and European agencies have worked closely to develop some of the most rigorous standards for prudent antibiotic use in animals around the world.

“Delaying their implementation in pursuit of additional unscientific restrictions would be a disservice to animal health, as well as, to human health and public health at large.”