Attitude and management crucial

GD Animal health

Measures against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in livestock prove most effective when combined with investments for improvements in housing conditions, feeding and health management.

This is shown in a recent study by the European Commission. It also states that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), through cross-compliance in most of the member states or regions studied, is "an effective means" of influencing farmers' authoritative practices through the requirements of animal welfare and food law legislation.

Advice and training important

Raising farmer awareness through extension services, commitments and training are also cited as important tools in the fight against AMR. Civil society pressure can also lead farmers and administrative authorities to support changes in practice, according to the study. For example, marketing standards for egg production set at the EU level influenced consumer demand and production decisions by requiring mandatory labeling of eggs according to the production systems and housing conditions of laying hens.

Indicators and data lacking

Looking at the CAP, which expires this year, the study authors complain that it is difficult to assess its impact in practice. Among other things, they criticize the lack of indicators that could document progress in implementing certain measures or their corresponding effects. For the new CAP starting in 2023, it is recommended that member states implement more comprehensive animal welfare measures. What is needed, it says, is the development of a common methodology to document best animal welfare practices with corresponding targets.

In addition, it is proposed to improve the data base and provide a comprehensive overview of the number of animals affected by different types of animal welfare and antimicrobial use policies at the national level. In order to properly assess the impact of the CAP, data should be differentiated by the different sectors affected - such as cattle, pigs, poultry, and sheep or goats, respectively - and the number of animals should be used instead of livestock units. AgE