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UK government accused of using Brexit to avoid antimicrobial resistance ruling

Published on 28/09/18 at 10:00am

The British government has been accused of using Brexit to avoid implementing new EU legislation preventing powerful antibiotics from be used in farming.

The new rules, designed as part of an effort to tackle antimicrobial resistance, are set to be implemented after Brexit day in March 2019.   However British newspaper The Guardian has revealed that government animal health experts are advising vets and farmers that the changes do not have to be implemented in the UK.

As such Brexit could allow UK farmers to dose healthy animals with antibiotics through their feed while EU farmers would be prevented from doing so. Campaigners and experts have however suggested that this would be a particularly irresponsible use of antibiotics which could contribute towards antimicrobial resistance.

The news comes after the Trump Administration in the United States was accused of resisting WHO guidelines regulating the use of antimicrobial drugs in food producing animals. In both cases governments have been accused of siding with powerful agribusiness interests.

Cóilín Nunan, of the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, said to the Guardian: “This European ban on preventative mass medication is long overdue and has taken member states years to agree. It will be hugely important for protecting human health, so it’s shameful that the VMD is saying that the UK is going to avoid implementing it.”

Louis Goss

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