Show some empathy! Fears sick pets ‘face certain death’ under EU rule change

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From the end of January, the EU Veterinary Medicines Regulation 2019/6 to try and cut down on the use of antibiotics in animals. Often the drugs are used on livestock to fatten them up before slaughter.

It has no medicinal value when used in this guise and has sparked fears that bacteria could become increasingly resistant to the drugs.

Should this happen, the drugs would be not as effective or ineffective when taken by people – costing human lives.

This has prompted the EU to consider implementing the change.

According to EU information, 33,000 people died of so-called multi-resistant germs in the bloc alone in 2015.

However, the Green Party wants the rules to go further and have submitted a resolution in the European Parliament which demands the introduction of a ban of “drugs of last resort” (DoLR) in factory farming.

Instead, the strong cocktails of antibiotics should be used exclusively on humans, according to the resolution.

The proposal has sparked anger from Germany’s Federal Veterinary Association which claims the changes would make it “impossible” to treat rodents and reptiles, in particular.

And in its opinion, these animals would “face certain death” if they became sick.

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Some have hit back, and insisted the legislation being proposed will not impact pets, despite the fears.

The ban is being introduced because almost three quarters of antibiotics given to animals go to livestock to help them fatten them up before slaughter, a 2017 report revealed.

However, some fear this could develop into a complete ban and say it is unfair on pets – which account for a small proportion of the animals given antibiotics.

They are generally prescribed to treat infection and in numbers that are far less likely to create a drug-resistant strain.

The Federal Veterinary Association used this argument to justify a petition it has launched.

It warns of the “dramatic effects on the treatment of animals” they fear the changes will have.

It states: “Many bacterial infections in animals could then no longer be treated adequately or not at all.

“That would have a significant impact on animal welfare for dogs, cats, horses and farm animals.”

Without the so-called reserve antibiotics, rodents and reptiles, in particular, could no longer be saved from many diseases, it claimed.

But German MEP Martin Häusling considers the petition’s claims “irrelevant”.

At a press conference last Thursday, he reiterated that pets would not be affected.

He said the changes clearly state that the ban is intended to distinguish between fattening animals and domestic animals.

In the event of a specific illness, vets should be allowed to administer the antibiotics reserved for humans to individual animals, he said.

But many veterinarians fear that animals will fall by the wayside in everyday life if the EU Parliament approves the change.

Express.co.uk has contacted the EU Commission for comment.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg

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