By Marlene Angir

The European Union’s new laws banning farmed animals from being routinely fed a diet of antibiotics  has come into law today.

The new regulations mean that only the sick, individual animals may be administered antibiotics unlike before, when majority of caged farmed animals across Europe would be dosed with antibiotics in their feed or water to prevent them from succumbing to disease.

As Europe is the world’s biggest importer of food, these new regulations will also have implications on Africa’s large-scale farmers, as the block will also reject imports of live animals or animal products where antibiotics have been used to promote fast growth of animals.

“Today, the EU is paving a bold new path to address the global superbug crisis. Farmers are going to have to lift their game. All countries around the world need to wake up to the fact that pumping animals full of antibiotics to mask poor welfare absolutely has to stop. We need to end factory farming and ensure remaining farmed animals live good lives in humane and sustainable systems.” Said Dr. Victor Yamo, Farming Campaigns Manager, World Animal Protection.

The overuse of antibiotics is resulting in a global public health crisis, with as many as 3500 human deaths worldwide from antimicrobial resistant infections (superbugs) on a daily basis.

In a statement, World Animal Protection called for the end of factory farming, by calling on governments to stop approving new factory farms. Farmed animals should be raised in a cruelty-free, humane and sustainable systems where their needs are fully met. This will ensure they are more resilient to disease and routine dosing with antibiotics will not be required, the statement read.