The proactive plan Ecoantibio from the Directorate General for Food (DGAL), the agency in the French Ministry of Agriculture in charge of food safety and quality, animal and plant health, as well as animal welfare, is aimed at reducing the use of antibiotics in animal health in order to avoid cases of antibiotic resistance as much as possible. In France, the fight against antibiotic resistance has been launched with Ecoantibio plan in 2012 by the DGAL, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health as well as farmers and veterinarians.

On March 25th, the DGAL issued a decree that included several important steps in implementing this plan. The decree reaffirms the importance of having a very precise diagnostic tool for limiting the risk of inappropriate use of these antibiotics and the development of antibiotic resistance in veterinary medicine.

These new measures aim to:

  • Forbid the use of antimicrobials critically important in humans for preventative purposes;
  • Reserve the use of certain families of antibiotics for human use only;
  • Require a clinical exam before any prescription in veterinary medicine of antimicrobials critically important in humans as well as a complementary exam to determine that no other antibiotic could be used.

Reducing the use of antibiotics whenever possible is a key part in ensuring the health and well-being of animals, and the French Ministry of Agriculture and other institutions in the country are taking the threat posed by this to animal and human health seriously by being proactive about prevention.