The own-initiative report, which was drafted in the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) by MEP Anna Rosbach (ECR, Denmark), aims to establish an action plan against the rising threat from antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Responding to the Commission’s 2011 Action Plan, the ENVI report emphasises the importance of prudent use of antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine, prevention of the emergence and spread of drug-resistance, monitoring and reporting of AMR, communication, education and training, development of new antibiotics and international cooperation.
Since the Committee for Industry, Research and Energy (ETRE) declined to give an opinion, the AGRI Committee is now the only Committee offering guidance for the ENVI report. The AGRI opinion was drafted by MEP Martin Haeusling (Greens/EFA, Germany) and called for further action to combat the rising threat of AMR. It considered that the Commission text does not go far enough in containing the risks associated with AMR and emphasised the need for a holistic, ’one health’ approach, as outlined in the Commission plan. The draft opinion also promoted sustainable livestock systems and agreed with the Commission that the regulatory framework for veterinary medicine needs strengthening. More specifically, it proposed phasing out systematic prophylaxis, metaphylaxis and sub-therapeutic use of antimicrobials, as well as the use for livestock of antimicrobials classified as critically important for human treatment. Crucially, it also proposed halving the use of antimicrobials in animal treatment in the EU by 2018.
The Committee amendments approved during the vote supported the draft opinion, adding further emphasis to the importance of healthy husbandry systems, the link between animal and human health and the need for further research. They introduce a greater role for the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) in monitoring and analysing AMR in livestock, for member states in ensuring electronic monitoring systems are used to track usage on individual farms, and for veterinary surgeons in only administering antibiotics where there is good reason to do so. The final text of the opinion also calls upon the Commission to produce an integrated road-map of policy options, but deletes the previous proposal to recommend a target of halving antimicrobial use in animal treatment by 2018, compared to 2012 figures.
The AGRI Committee opinion will now be forwarded to the ENVI Committee for consideration which is scheduled to vote on its final report in November. The vote of the full plenary is forecast for 10 December 2012.
Related EPHA articles:
*Updated* EPHA briefing on Antimicrobial Resistance
EU Action Plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance
Council Conclusions on Antimicrobial Resistance: A first step in the right direction
Time for Action: Meeting the antimicrobial resistance challenge