Ostrum pledges to counter antibiotic overuse

Worldwide, most antibiotics are used in farm animal production systems, often to promote growth and to prevent the spread of disease among animals housed in unsanitary conditions and in close confinement. Ostrum AM has been involved in fighting this practice since 2016, due to its negative impact on human health, and today reiterates this commitment.

This overuse of antibiotics in livestock production is one of the main causes of the emergence of antimicrobial resistance worldwide. In the US, an estimated 75% of antibiotics are being used on farm animals, 70% in the European Union (EU), and 45% in the UK. A policy to manage their use is therefore a key aspect in assessing the sector’s sustainability.

The first phase of this initiative was launched by the FFAIR (Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return) in 2016 and encouraged companies to gradually halt the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock farming. The global regulatory landscape is moving to phase out the routine non-therapeutic use, and consumers, civil society organizations and the media are increasingly scrutinizing corporate practice on this issue. Companies that fail to act are likely to face significant impacts on their reputation and brand, threatening sales and profits.

A new phase of this initiative was launched last summer and is currently being rolled out, with moves to assess progress that companies have made in gradually eliminating antibiotic use across all livestock, poultry, seafood, dairy and egg supply chains. Signatories also call on companies to report their goals and clear timeframes to provide greater transparency.

Ostrum AM’s status as trailblazer in this area was recently further demonstrated: alongside talks that started with companies over the last quarter of 2018, the European Parliament approved fresh legislation at the end of October to curb the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in farming from 2022.