UK farming unions respond to EU antimicrobial resistance initiative

An imagine of cows outside.

The British Agriculture Bureau have responded to the European Commission’s initiative on the ‘Fight against antimicrobial resistance – ban on certain antimicrobials in animals / animal products imported into the EU’ on behalf of the UK farming unions.

The initiative, published in December 2022, would see imports of animals or products of animal origin (POAO) that have used antimicrobials for growth promotion or yield increase, or have used antimicrobial products reserved for use in humans, banned in the Union. In addition, imports of live animals or POAO from third countries into the Union would be required to provide an official certificate to demonstrate compliance with the proposed regulation.

This is designed to mitigate the risk of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

What would this mean for UK producers?

As a third country, UK producers exporting to the Union would have to comply with the new regulations.

Whilst UK farmers do not use antimicrobials for growth promotion or yield increase, producers would still need to provide additional certificate to demonstrate compliance. Whilst we do not yet know how this certificate would work in practise, it would undoubtedly add additional costs and burden to UK producers.

What is in our response

UK and EU farmers are rightly proud of their high production standards and recognise the serious threat of AMR. UK farmers have a progressive, responsible attitude to the use of veterinary medicines and whilst we are no longer in the EU, the UK regulatory framework remains aligned with that of the Union’s. The UK and EU Member States also use the same data recording system for veterinary medicines.

Considering this, the UK farming unions believe that we should not have to comply with additional compliance checks which would add unnecessary burden to our producers. We request that the Union considers the UK as an exceptional case among listed third countries and does not demand additional certification. Instead, we should utilise our trusted relationship with the EU and shared knowledge of the regulatory framework.

UK farmers are committed to addressing AMR

UK farmers have reduced reliance on the use of antimicrobials since 2014 whilst still maintaining and protecting the health of livestock. UK farmers and producers are committed to working with partners across the EU to ensure that efforts to mitigate against AMR are continued and advanced. However, we call for proportionality in regulation, particularly at this time of challenge in veterinary resource and supply chain difficulties.

If you would like additional information, you can read our full response linked below. 

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