Much more antibiotics in animal fattening

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Federal Ministry of Agriculture suspects higher antibiotic use in animal fattening facilities than previously assumed

More antibiotics are used in factory farming than previously thought. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture is now also assuming this. Exact studies are expected to be released by the Ministry next week. It is already becoming apparent that antibiotics are used in inflation in animal fattening.

"It would not be possible to keep animals in animal fattening facilities without antibiotics," says Engelbert Friedrich, animal rights activist from Hanover. Because the animals grow up crowded and infectious diseases can spread rapidly, the fattening farms administer ever higher doses of antibiotic drugs. "Most animals would not otherwise experience the day of slaughter," warns the animal rights activist. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture now also admits that antibiotics are being administered to the fattening animals in bulk and, above all, in ever higher doses than previously thought.

The extent of antibiotic administration appears to be much greater, with serious health consequences for consumers. "So far, nationwide estimates of around 780 tons of antibiotics were administered every year in animal husbandry," said a spokesman for the ministry in Berlin. But now we assume that "the amount actually used is even higher."

Pharmaceutical traffic is being reviewed for the first time In his statements, the Ministry spokesman refers to an evaluation of veterinary medicinal products put into circulation nationwide. For the first time, the Ministry is investigating drug traffic in order to gain more precise information about the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry. The study is also intended to show which federal states use antibiotic drugs particularly frequently. "At the moment we are still evaluating the data at the Federal Office for Food Safety and Consumer Protection," said the spokesman. The first results of the study will then be available in the coming week and will be made public.

Actually, the medicines should only be used if the animals are sick. It has long been forbidden to use the medication for rapid rearing. But some studies have already shown that antibiotics are used in large quantities in fattening animals. The administration of antibiotics in poultry fattening farms appears to be particularly high, as an NDR research had found. The focus is on the federal states, in which many agricultural businesses are located.

Antibiotic resistance feared A danger to humans exists because traces of antibiotics are absorbed into the human body by the consumption of fattening meat. In addition, consumers can consume bacteria that have already developed resistance. This in turn means that antibiotics no longer work in the case of serious bacterial diseases.

According to the black and yellow federal government, harmful consequences for agriculture can also arise. Antibiotics residues are excreted by the animals. The contaminated feces could get into the ground, into water and thus also into the groundwater. Therefore, the ministry would "pay more attention to the possible formation of resistance by spreading manure". It is possible that fragments of antibiotics are also taken up by crops.

Legislative situation to be tightened Politicians now want to react to the dangers. The Federal Minister of Consumer Protection Ilse Aigner (CSU) has announced that the legal situation regarding the pharmaceutical law in animal fattening will be significantly tightened so that the use of antibiotics is "kept to a minimum." In the future, veterinarians should only be able to prescribe the medicines within very narrow limits. In addition, the doses administered and the time of use should be "stricter". If antibiotics are administered that are also intended for humans, these should only be prescribed under special conditions, such as for other animal species, beyond the approval.

Nationwide database on the use of veterinary drugs In addition, the State Ministry of Economics is planning to set up a nationwide database so that the state authorities can get an overview of the use of veterinary drugs in the individual regions. The minister hoped that this would serve "better control". "The federal government sets the legal framework for this, the federal states are responsible for monitoring the operations on site," said the ministry spokesman. If farms use antibiotics in excessive form, a lower dose is to be prescribed in future by regulation.

The Greens are demanding a quick change to the Medicines Act. The Greens' spokesman for agricultural policy, Friedrich Ostendorff, demanded that the animals should only be treated with antibiotics in the event of illness. In addition, only the individual animal and not the entire fattening should receive medication. According to the chairman of the Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND), Hubert Weiger, the animal industry endangers the health of the entire population. They have no control over the use of antibiotics at all, according to the environmentalist. (sb)

Also read:
Massive use of antibiotics in farm animals
Health: Chicken full of antibiotics
Chicken contaminated with antibiotics
Health: Chicken full of antibiotics

Image: Nico Lubaczowski /

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