Animal welfare: key recommendation for addressing AMR at the UN General Assembly

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Animal Welfare, One Health

The indiscriminate use of antibiotics and other antimicrobials to mask the predictable emergence of infectious disease in industrial livestock systems underpins the profitability of the industrial agri-food business model. Such irresponsible use of antimicrobials is contributing to the growing threat of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in both humans and animals.

A global call

A global coalition of well over 200 stakeholders from UN organisations, academic institutions, governments, industry, and civil society is urging the UN General Assembly to transform the agri-food system. Their call to optimise and promote animal welfare to reduce the use of antimicrobials in these systems is one of ten recommendations put forward by the AMR Multi-Stakeholder Platform.

The AMR Multi-Stakeholder Platform was established in November 2022 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH). In this call to action, the Platform urges Member States to seize the upcoming UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AMR to reinvigorate the progress on addressing AMR with a One Health approach.

The detailed recommendations propose recognising animal welfare as a driver of agri-food system transformation, aiming to significantly reduce the need for antimicrobials. In addition, the recommendations urge all UN Member States to phase out the irresponsible use of antimicrobials for growth promotion and routine group prophylactic use in healthy animals.  

The Secretariat of the World Federation for Animals, supported by Compassion in World Farming, acted as the lead penholder of the recommendations on behalf of all civil society organisations in the Platform.

In our agrifoods systems, responsible use must equate to reduced use, and reduced use is made possible by promoting animal welfare and animal health. We look forward to supporting Member States towards a transformation of agri-food systems that prioritise animal welfare as a driver of protecting both human and animal health.” Arjan van Houwelingen, Chief of Strategic Policy & Public Affairs at WFA highlighted during the official launch of the reccomendations on May 2, 2024.

If endorsed by the UN General Assembly, these recommendations could significantly steer the transformation of the industrial livestock systems, placing enhanced animal welfare and health as foundational principles. 

Background

  • The UN High-level meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) will take place on 26 September 2024, at the UN Headquarters in New York, during the general debate of the Assembly at its 79th session, from 10 am to 6 pm. Read more.
  • The AMR Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Platform, established and facilitated by the Quadripartite organizations (FAO, UNEP, WHO and WOAH), aims to catalyse a global movement for action against AMR)by fostering cooperation between a diverse range of stakeholders at all levels across the One Health spectrum. WFA is a member of the Platform’s Steering Committee. Read more.

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