The World Organisation for Animal Health (WHOH) released a statement on 23rd November 2023 during World Antibiotic Awareness Week.
“WOAH urges veterinary authorities and the animal industry to live up to their commitments regarding the use of antimicrobials as growth promoters”./
They stated antimicrobial resistance is a growing concern. In recent years, the international community has made important commitments to address this global health threat. One of these is to phase out the use of antimicrobials to promote growth in healthy animals. It is time to move from commitment to action.
“While the majority of WOAH Members have taken strong action in recent years to reduce their use in animals , further efforts are needed as these drugs are still being inappropriately used as growth promoters in some countries.”
All of the WOAH members committed to a definitive ban in 2016 against the use of highest-priority antimicrobials for humans, and to phase out the use of antimicrobials in animals.
They are still reporting the following issues:
– Almost 20% of members still report using antimicrobials for growth promotion. Of these, it is estimated that 76% have not carried out any preliminary risk analysis.
– No fewer than 11% of WOAH members still use colistin as a growth promoter, despite its classification as a critically important antimicrobial for human medicine.
– At least 50% of the members using antimicrobials as growth promoters have no regulatory framework in place.
– In some countries, the labelling of certain feed additives intended to increase productivity does not mention the presence of low doses of antimicrobials, which are then unknowingly administered to animals by veterinarians and farmers.
WOAH calls on its members to restrict the use of antimicrobials solely to veterinary medical use and to actively engage in dialogue with the concerned parties to achieve a total ban on the use of antimicrobials as growth promoters, starting with those that are critically important for human health.
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