Amid ongoing concerns over the use of medically important antibiotics given to food-producing livestock and farmed fish, sales of veterinary medicines across Europe dropped by nearly half between 2011 and 2021, which regulators reported is the biggest drop ever recorded and a sign that campaigns to reduce use are working.
At issue is the extent to which antibiotics are given to food-producing livestock to prevent and treat disease — a practice that has contributed to an alarming rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans. The problem has persisted, even after the European Union in 2006 banned the use of antibiotics for promoting growth, since bulking up the animals makes them better suited for increased production.
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