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February 2022

Welcome to our Spring newsletter

We are pleased to share that our petition to supermarkets closed last week with a total of almost 30,000 signatures. We were joined by Chris Van Tulleken in asking the supermarkets to cut antibiotics misuse out of their supply chains. The petition specifically asked supermarkets to: 'expand the scope of your antibiotics policies to cover all animal products, regardless of country of origin or product line; and only sell branded products that have been produced with the responsible use of antibiotics.' 

We will be chasing up the supermarkets on their progress later this year.
Dr Chris van Tulleken says we must take antibiotic misuse out of our food chain, in our petition hand-in video to UK supermarkets.
In EU news, important new regulations on farm antibiotic use came into force in the European Union on the 28th of January. It is now illegal for EU farmers to use antibiotics routinely, including for purely preventative group treatments. Crucially, the new regulations make it illegal to use antibiotics to compensate for inadequate husbandry or poor hygiene. This is a major step forward for responsible antibiotic use in Europe and should contribute to reductions in farm use.
For these radical new rules to be implemented properly some major changes to common farming practices will be required. However, as husbandry practices remain unchanged in much of the EU farming industry, concerns remain over implementing the new rules.
Read 'Ending Routine Antibiotic Use' - the latest EPHA Report
The European Public Health Agency (EPHA) has just published a report which finds that unless significant improvements are made to minimum husbandry standards, the new regulations will not be implemented in full. The report, written by the Alliance’s Scientific Advisor Cóilín Nunan, includes key recommendations for improving animal health and minimising antibiotic use to meet this challenge. These include lowering stocking densities, later weaning for pigs and using slower-growing breeds of chickens. (Read coverage of the report in the The Brussels Times and The Economist.)
The UK government previously stated in Parliament that it planned to implement new rules on preventative farm antibiotic use that would bring the UK into line with the new EU rules now in force. Despite this, no new legislation ending preventative group treatments have been introduced. As a result, British rules on farm antibiotic use now diverge significantly from the EU’s. 
Watch Cóilín on BBC Countryfile - from 16m 30s
Cóilín Nunan appeared on BBC Countryfile on the 6th of February to discuss the UK’s rules on farm antibiotic use and our divergence from EU legislation.

You can also read the ASOA briefing on the UK’s divergence from the EU on the regulatory controls for the use of antibiotics on farms. 
The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics continue to campaign for improved regulation of UK farm antibiotic use, a ban on all routine use of antibiotics and an end to all preventative use of antibiotics in groups of animals. The government now says that it will publish its long-delayed plans for new UK veterinary medicines legislation at some point during 2022, and that there will then be a public consultation. We will keep up the pressure, watch this space! 

Suzi Shingler
Campaign Manager | Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics
Interview with the experts - Vicky Bond
In our latest interview, we heard from Vicky Bond, Managing Director of The Humane League (THL) in the UK who discussed THL's work to encourage corporations to sign up to the European Chicken Commitment. Follow the links for more information on The Humane League UK, and follow Vicky @vickybond_THLUK and THL on Twitter @humaneleagueuk .

In other news
  • Annual global deaths from antimicrobial resistance are higher than previously thought, according to a new study by the Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (GRAM) project, which is jointly run by Oxford University and the University of Washington. The study, published in the Lancet, estimates that in 2019 antimicrobial resistance was directly responsible for the deaths of more than one and a quarter million people worldwide and linked with the deaths of nearly five million people. The overuse of antibiotics in both humans and farm animals is to blame for this crisis.
  • A commitment from UK Gov was made by Penny Mordaunt in response to a parliamentary question on trade. The Minister for the Department for International Trade said: 'HM Government is committed to reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics in animals and it remains our intention to strengthen our national law in this area. As such, we are currently reviewing the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2013 and will set out proposed changes as part of a public consultation during 2022'.
  • Feedlots may contribute to antibiotics resistance according to research from the University of New England (UNE). The UNE has found evidence that farm soils on which feedlot manures had been spread carried significantly higher levels of bacteria resistant to antibiotics compared to untreated soils.
  • HCWH has launched the #SafeguardColistin initiative One of the provisions in the new Veterinary Medicinal Products regulation will be the creation of a list of antimicrobial agents reserved for human health. Health Care Without Harm is campaigning to ensure colistin is on this list. At present in Europe, 99.5% of colistin sales are in forms suitable for group treatment of animals, i.e. oral solution, oral powder, and premixes. Yet colistin is an antibiotic of last resort in human medicine and is notably used to treat pulmonary bacterial infections in cystic fibrosis patients. 
  • HCWH Europe is also working with hospitals to tackle AMR in their food systems Health Care Without Harm wants to encourage the use of standardized procurement criteria, so that hospital food supply chains encourage responsible antimicrobial use and calls on healthcare professionals to join the #SafeguardColistin campaign.
  • Policy briefing finds WHO GAP on AMR at a crossroads ReAct's Strategic Policy Program and the IDEA Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have published a new briefing “The Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance at a Crossroads: Insights from the WHO’s Comprehensive Review” that seeks to build on the momentum from the WHO’s Comprehensive Review of the Global Action Plan on AMR (Sep 2021)
  • Whole Health Agriculture published a report on the findings from their survey on alternative approaches to livestock health. The survey ran from May 2020 till January 2021 and found that for the 221 farmers involved, complementary and alternative medicine/methods (CAM) approaches to livestock health management work.
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The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics is an alliance of health, medical, civil society and animal welfare groups campaigning to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animal farming. It was founded by Compassion in World Farming, the Soil Association and Sustain in 2009. The Alliance is completely free to join. Our vision is a world in which human and animal health and well-being are protected by food and farming systems that do not rely on routine antibiotic use. 
@ASOAntibiotics @ASOAntibiotics
Copyright © 2022 | Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics | All rights reserved.
|February 2022 Newsletter|

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