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IN recent years the EU, in contrast to many other parts of the world, has taken a number of initiatives to reduce the use of antibiotics in farm animals. Antibiotics can no longer be used for growth promotion and a veterinary prescription is needed for animal treatment. Additionally, numerous strategies, recommendations and guidelines have been developed (eg, European Platform for the Responsible Use of Animal Medicines 2008, Federation of Veterinarians of Europe [FVE] 2012, European Commission 2015). The aim of these strategies is to further promote the prudent and responsible use of antibiotics by veterinarians and reduce antibiotic use. For any such strategy to be effective, understanding the factors influencing antibiotic prescribing and veterinary attitudes towards antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance is necessary.
So, how concerned are veterinarians about antibiotic use and resistance, and how supportive of policies to reduce antimicrobial resistance are veterinarians?
Postma and others (2016) investigate this in a paper summarised on p 68 of this issue of Veterinary Record. The authors collate the opinions of veterinarians regarding antimicrobial use in farm animals in the Netherlands and Flanders (the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium). The comparison between these two neighbouring regions is interesting because in both of the regions the main animals farmed are pigs, cattle and poultry (European Medicines Agency [EMA] and others 2015) and these animals are known as high antibiotic users (Grave and others 2010). Despite this, antimicrobial resistance policies …