March 11, 2016
Germany has embarked on a 2.46-million-euro (US$2.75-million) research project related to animal health as part of its effort to be a trendsetter in animal health and welfare.
Under the auspices of the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture, the project, called "Development stages of cross-reduction measures for antibiotic-resistant pathogens in broilers", will look at the formation and spread of antibiotic resistance of poultry animals.
It will develop products and recommend measures to reduce, if not eliminate, the emergence or spread of antibiotic resistance, including new and improved methods for disinfecting hatching eggs, and optimization of husbandry systems, sanitary conditions and feeding regimes.
Federal Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt stressed that antibiotic resistance can only be prevented if human and veterinary medicine sectors work closely together.
"With the 16th amendment of the Medicines Act, we have already established in Germany a system for minimising antibiotics in livestock production", he said.
"Another building block to avoid antibiotic resistance is research. That's why my Ministry is investing in the development of concrete actions and products that can reduce the development and transfer of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in poultry meat production", he added.
A recent USDA report has noted that there has been an intense public debate about animal welfare in Germany, and that the attitude toward meat consumption and livestock production is changing, with the majority of consumers considering animal welfare within food production as important.
The report cited recent surveys that found 30% of German consumers would be willing to pay higher for products that have been produced under higher animal-welfare standards.