According to a new European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption report, farm antibiotic sales in 31 European countries fell by 12.7% in 2022, compared with 2021. Overall sales fell by 53% between 2011 and 2022 for the 25 countries which have data covering this period.
New European Union regulations, which came into force on 28 January 2022, and which ban all forms of routine farm antibiotic use including prophylactic treatments of groups of animals appear to have contributed to the reduction.
Average sales across the 31 countries was 73.9 mg/PCU, whereas the median was significantly lower at 45.8 mg/PCU.
Sales fell in 28 of 31 countries. They fell sharply in some countries including Belgium (-23.9%), Bulgaria (-17.1%), France (-24.8%), Greece (-18.2%), Hungary (-28.5%), Ireland (-20.8%), Latvia (-18.4%), Lithuania (-32.3%), Malta (-32.7%), Netherlands (-22.3%), Portugal (-48.6%), Romania (-17.3%), Slovenia (-19.2%) and Spain (-19%).
Sales increased in three countries: Iceland, Denmark and Poland. Iceland is an extremely low user of farm antibiotics (4.4 mg/PCU) and Denmark is also a fairly low user (34.1 mg/PCU). However, Poland is a very high user (196 mg/PCU) so it is concerning that Poland’s sales increased by 11.6% to its highest-ever level. Cyprus has Europe’s highest sales of farm antibiotics (254.7 mg/PCU) and sales also remain far too high in Italy (157.5 mg/PCU), Spain (127.4 mg/PCU), Hungary (111.2 mg/PCU) and Bulgaria (103.2 mg/PCU). These very high levels of antibiotic use raise questions about the implementation of the new EU rules in these countries.