GERMANY - From the beginning of April the German agricultural authorities have put in place a new regulation requiring livestock owners to report the amount of antibiotics they are giving their animals every six months.
The move that was passed in law before the last election in Germany is intended to reduce antibiotic use on farms and covers cattle, pigs chicken and turkeys.
The farmers have to report which antibiotics they have used and how much.
"Antibiotic resistance has increased in recent years and we have to face it with decisive action,” said Federal Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt .
“We know that the most effective way is to reduce the use of antibiotics and that is why all parties are required to make a contribution – both in the livestock sector as well as in human medicine.
“With dedicated farmers, with the vets and the monitoring authorities, we can ensure that we have effective drugs against infectious diseases well into the future.
“We are talking about a very serious issue and we have to take responsible actions,” the minister added.
"What is clear is that livestock owners responsible for their animals should only use medicines when it is necessary and justifiable.
From the information that is obtained from the farms for the first time from 1 July the competent veterinary authority must report the usage every half year.
If a farm is on the upper end of the scale of usage it will have to work with the authority to identify the reasons and take action to reduce the antibiotic use.
Those in the top quarter will have to have a written action plan to reduce antibiotic use.
Part of the action plans can include not only the antibiotic usage but also stocking densities, feed regimes, hygiene and the use of vaccination and changes to the environment of the farm.
If the measures are not followed the farmers could be fined.
TheMeatSite News Desk