Welcome to our inaugural newsletter
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted once again why human health should not be viewed in isolation from the wider world and instead a One Health approach must be taken. The term One Health describes a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to public health which recognises that the health of people is closely related to the health of animals and our shared environment. Zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that can spread from animals to people, antibiotic resistance, food safety and environmental contamination are all recognised by scientists, governments and international agencies as key One Health issues.
Covid-19 should be viewed as a One Health issue too. This is because most scientists believe that Covid-19 is a zoonotic disease caused by a virus which has spread to people from wild animals, and some argue its emergence is likely linked to environmental degradation.
In a new blog, Cóilín Nunan of the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics argues that the global expansion of intensive livestock farming, which relies on routine antibiotic use, is a major factor in environmental degradation and the emergence of new infectious diseases. This is why we need to rethink how we farm livestock to put protecting health and biodiversity at the centre of our farming systems.
UK farm antibiotic use has fallen by 50% in recent years, but even greater reductions in use are still needed. In line with a key Alliance campaign goal, the EU acted last year to ban the purely preventative use of antibiotics in groups of farm animals from 28 January 2022. We continue to campaign for the UK to follow suit but so far the Government has refused to commit to the ban. The Alliance recently received a letter from Defra stating that the Government plans to launch a consultation on the preventative use of antibiotics on UK farms. We will be engaging with this process closely and will keep you updated as we go.
The Alliance maintains our call on the Government to not water down our hard-won antibiotics regulations in any trade deals as we continue the process to leave the EU. Read our trade position paper to find out more.
In our second report into Supermarket antibiotic policies we also hone in on the major buying power held by UK supermarkets, and call for a them to take action to ban routine prophylaxis within their supply chains. The report shows that progress continues to be made but some supermarkets are lagging behind.
This newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with us and you can subscribe to get our regular updates straight to your inbox. Subscribers will be kept up-to-date on all our latest findings and campaign news as we continue to push for stricter rules on antibiotic use on farms, and make sure antibiotics of last resort are ring-fenced for human health.
You can also follow us on twitter and we have recently updated our website, so do check out the new resources and content available. And remember to contact us if you want to know more, if you have news to share, or if you would like to become an Alliance member.
Campaign Manager, Alliance to Save our Antibiotics