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Antimicrobial Resistance
French veterinary profession plans to reduce use of antibiotics

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THE French Federation of Veterinarian Syndicates (FSVF) has announced plans to reduce the amount of antibiotics prescribed for use in animals.

The federation, which through its constituent member organisations represents all veterinary practitioners, inspectors and teachers in veterinary schools in France, issued a statement last month, saying that it supported the goal of reducing the risk of antibiotic resistance in veterinary medicine and, for this reason, had agreed to immediately reduce the amount of antibiotics prescribed.

In the statement, the FSVF said that, in order to significantly reduce the volumes of veterinary antibiotic being used, it considered it appropriate to intervene primarily on the prescription of oral antibiotics, including medicated feed, particularly when prescribed for preventive use. ‘Such progress can only be effective with the active involvement of all stakeholders in the animal production chain, which will lead to strengthened efforts to better control herd health status, while ensuring greater competitiveness,’ it said.

The FSVF said it would concentrate its efforts initially on prescriptions of critical antibiotics and on prescribing practices that account for the largest amounts of antibiotics. Together with other interested parties, it intends to establish a timetable for reducing the prescription of medicated feed containing antibiotics, with the aim of gradually withdrawing these from food production where this is scientifically, technically and economically possible.

It also said it would be advocating the voluntary withdrawal of oral forms of antibiotics from herd health plans. It called for the necessary authorisations to be issued by the competent bodies that would allow the use of technical alternatives that are currently banned in France but used successfully elsewhere in the EU. This, it said, would contribute to reduced prescriptions of antibiotics in some sectors of activity.

The statement added that the agreement would initiate further work on responsible use of antibiotics which is soon to be carried out by the French veterinary profession.

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