Poll favours use of animal antibiotics

Some 56% of people in the EU favour veterinary antibiotic.

Irish people (70%) were the fourth most likely to agree sick animals have the right to be treated with antibiotics, if this is the most appropriate treatment.

Only survey respondents in the UK and Finland (both 75%) and Portugal (74%), were more in favour of antibiotics for animals in last April’s survey on behalf of the European Commission.

The EU average was 56% with respondents in Slovenia (42%) and Slovakia (43%) least likely to agree that sick animals can be treated with antibiotics.

Part of the EU’s plan to halt growing anti-microbial resistance, which makes antibiotics less effective, the survey included 27,969 respondents in the 28 member states.

The main findings in the survey of over 1,000 Irish respondents were that 44% had taken antibiotics in the last 12 months, third highest in the EU. Just over half (57%, sixth highest in the EU) in Ireland knew that antibiotics are ineffective against viruses.

Coincidentally, the same percentage of EU citizens were unaware that antibiotics do not work against viruses.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said this low level of awareness affects how antibiotics are used in EU, and must change, or antibiotics will become ineffective.

“We need urgent action on this issue,” he warned.

A little over a third of those surveyed in the EU were aware of the EU ban on the use of antibiotics to stimulate growth in farm animals. The Netherlands was the only state where a majority (60%) were aware. The Irish result was 44%, fifth highest.


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