Our latest report on farm antibiotics & trade deals
The Alliance’s recent focus has been on trade issues. Our new report, ‘Farm antibiotics and trade deals – could UK standards be undermined’ examines farm antibiotic use in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand; four countries which are currently in trade negotiations with the UK. Based on the evidence found in this report, we call for the government to take a strong stance against the overuse of farm antibiotics in any trade negotiations.
Our analysis of antibiotics usage across these countries finds that total farm antibiotic use in both the US and Canada is about 5 times higher than in UK livestock, antibiotic use in Australian poultry is over 16 times higher than in UK poultry, and use in pigs is nearly three times higher than in UK pigs.
The report also finds that these four countries all permit feeding some antibiotics to livestock to make them grow faster, a practice which has been illegal across the EU since 2006. Most of the antibiotics used in this way are not currently used in human medicine, although several of them could be used in the future. One growth promoter used in the US, bacitracin, is already used in human medicine in the US. We also find that these countries all permit the use of hormone growth-promoting implants in cattle, and that a high-priority critically important antibiotic is frequently included in these implants to prevent infection at the implant site.
Follow the links below to read and listen to coverage of our report:
The report and our findings were also referred to by Baroness Rosie Boycott during a debate in the House of Lords on the Trade Bill. You can watch her 7th of December speech here.
We hope the widespread and on-going coverage, like this article in the Financial Times, will help keep antibiotics on the national agenda whilst we work to spark the action that is required.