The use of antibiotics on farm animals and pets fell overall in 2019 in France, announced the National Food Safety Agency (Anses) on Wednesday, November 18. A government plan, started in 2012, aimed to encourage this decrease, because the massive use of antibiotics in farms contributes to the acceleration of the development by bacteria of antimicrobial resistance.
Unless there is a fundamental change in certain breeding practices, the consumption of antibiotics risks stagnating in the years to come, warns ANSES, however.
− 12% of treatments on poultry
After having paused in 2018 in its sharp decline since the beginning of the 2010s, “The overall exposure of animals decreased by 10.9% between 2018 and 2019”, according to an annual report from ANSES on the sales of antibiotics, published Wednesday. “Compared to 2011, there was a 45.3% drop in the pressure of antibiotic treatments, with a steady decrease”, rejoiced Jean-Pierre Orand, director of the National Agency for Veterinary Medicines (ANMV), during the presentation of this report.
Between 2018 and 2019, exposure declined significantly for cattle (- 9.9%), for pigs (- 16.4%), and for poultry (- 12.8%), the three most common families. consumers in tonnage. On the other hand, rabbits (+ 1.5%) and domestic carnivores, mainly dogs and cats (+ 2.1%), saw their exposure increase slightly. “At this stage, it is not significant, but it deserves more careful monitoring, to see whether over time we are on a plateau phase or if, on the contrary, we are returning to a growth phase”, commented Mr. Orand.
According to a report from the European Agency for the Monitoring of Antimicrobial Consumption (Esvac) published in the fall, these efforts allow France to be among the good European students: it thus ranks in 14e position, but with a result significantly lower than the European average.
Public health “major challenge”
France launched in 2012 a first five-year government plan to reduce the use of antibiotics in animal health, whether for farms or pets. This “EcoAntibio” plan was relaunched for five additional years, until 2021. Through this, the authorities intend to fight against antibiotic resistance, “A major global public health challenge”, as recalled by the Ministry of Agriculture.
In May 2016, the economist Lord Jim O’Neill, then British Secretary of State for Commerce, already warned in a highly noticed report. If no major action is taken, he said, the number of deaths linked to antibiotic resistance could reach 10 million per year in the world by 2050. There would be a cost of 100,000 billion. of dollars (88,400 billion euros) in terms of loss of world production, more than the world gross domestic product.