GERMANY, Berlin. The German government plans further to reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock farming. According to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the Federal Cabinet approved a bill to amend its veterinary medicinal products regulations last Wednesday.
Essentially, this implements the updated and extended concept of the national antibiotic minimization strategy to better track and permanently reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock farming.
As the agricultural ministry explained, the minimization strategy, which currently only applies to the fattening sector, shall be expanded to include areas such as dairy farms, hatchlings and layer farms, sows with suckling piglets, and calves born on the farm.
Antibiotic use is to be recorded and systematically reduced, and local authorities will be legally obligated to issue orders and take measures if necessary to reduce antibiotic use on a livestock farm.
EU law is implemented
According to the ministry, the amendment enacts regulations to implement EU law. Starting in 2024, member states must annually submit comprehensive data on the use of antibiotics in animals to the European Medicines Agency. In addition, the approval and use of certain antibiotics in animals will be prohibited and reserved for treating bacterial infections in humans.
Reduction through reconstruction
The Ministry also stated that further European regulations are urgently needed in addition to national ones and calls for outstanding regulations to be introduced as quickly as possible, which would impose further Europe-wide restrictions on the use of antibiotics in animals.
However, a reduction in the use of antibiotics will not be achieved solely by regulating veterinary medicines. There is also a need for more species-appropriate and sustainable animal husbandry, the ministry stressed. Therefore, it is driving forward the restructuring of agricultural animal husbandry.