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Ban must be enforced on preventive antibiotics

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By Georgina Mills

Ten senior doctors have written to the UK government calling on it to ban preventive antibiotic group treatments in livestock.

A failure to enforce a ban on preventive group treatments would result in the UK ‘having some of the weakest regulatory standards of farm antibiotic use in Europe’. This would ‘seriously undermine’ the progress made in reducing UK farm antibiotic use and negatively impact on human health, they have warned.

The letter was sent to environment secretary Michael Gove and health secretary Matt Hancock. A shortened version was also published in the Guardian’s online letters page.

The call comes following a vote in the European Parliament in October in support of new regulations on veterinary medicinal products to slow the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Under the new rules, the preventive use of antimicrobials would be limited to single animals and only allowed when justified by a vet and where there is a high infection risk.

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