The Ecoantibio 2017 plan aims to achieve a 25% reduction in antibiotic use in veterinary medicine over five years by developing alternatives that are capable of protecting animal health and that avoid recourse to antibiotics. First of all, this article deals with the five priorities, within the Ecoantibio 2017 plan, outlined by Stéphane Le Foll, French Minister of Agriculture. Then, antibiotic resistance monitoring in France will be explained.

The 2011-2017 national action plan for the reduction of antibiotic-resistance risks in veterinary medicine, called “Ecoantibio2017”

It aims to achieve a 25% reduction in antibiotic use in veterinary medicine over five years by developing alternatives that are capable of protecting animal health and that avoid recourse to antibiotics.

Dr Graham Beards/Wikimedia

Dr Graham Beards/Wikimedia

Five Priorities Within the National Action Plan for the Reduction of the Risks of Antibiotic Resistance in Veterinary Medicine, “Ecoantibio 2017”

On November 14, 2012, a symposium called “Evaluating the use of veterinary antibiotics and reducing it” gathered 200 participants, including livestock professionals, veterinarians, scientists, members of the government, and European specialists in order to reflect on antibiotic use in veterinary medicine. Stéphane Le Foll, French Minister of Agriculture,  outlined five priorities within the Ecoantibio 2017 plan:

1. Restrict the prescription of antibiotics with a major interest in human medicine, and prohibit their use as a preventative method in the agricultural sector in order to maintain their effectiveness

2. Make antibiotics a public good in order to allow for special regulatory measures to fight against antibiotic resistance

3. Promote new methods and breeding practices based on strengthened prevention and limited use of antibiotics

4. Reflect on tax reform of veterinary medicines in order to promote responsible use, as well as contribute to the financing of the Ecoantibio 2017 plan

5. Reflect on business practices in order to prevent the linking of antibiotic prescriptions to market incentives, and in order to propose future legislation.

©Xavier Remongin/

©Xavier Remongin/

Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring

Anses, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety, is responsible for monitoring antibiotic resistance in bacteria (of non-human origin). Providing data on emerging bacteria resistance in animals and its trends is a tool to ensure responsible veterinary prescriptions, as well as an informational tool for managers.
This work is based on the activities of three networks coordinated by the agency’s laboratories:

  • RESAPATH (a network that monitors antibiotic resistance of pathogenic bacteria) collects data on antibiotic resistance in bacteria isolated from diseased animals in the veterinary diagnostic.
  • The Salmonella Network collects salmonella strains of nonhuman origin (isolated from food, environment, and animal production), which are then sent for serotyping.
  • Annual observation plans implemented by the Directorate General of Food, in collaboration with the agency laboratories, allow the harvesting of feces or caeca of healthy, slaughtered animals. Sentinel bacteria (E. coli, Enterococcus faecium) and zoonotic strains (Campylobacter sp. and some Salmonella isolates) are isolated according to type: bovine, porcine, or avian.

Moreover, the National Agency for Veterinary Medicinal Products (ANMV) began a follow-up of veterinary antimicrobial sales in 1999, which was based on an annual declaration of antibiotic sales by laboratories. Laboratories also provided an estimate of drug distribution by species. The information collected from laboratories covers 100% of authorized medicines.
Indeed, in 2011, total sales amounted to 913.6 metric tons of antibiotics, which is the lowest tonnage since 1999. The results of 2011 confirm that the volume of antibiotics sold had declined from previous years (-31.2% since 1999, -31.1% over the last 5 years, and -9.9% between 2010 and 2011). Between 2010 and 2011, exposure to antibiotics decreased by 8.6% for pigs, 6.9% for rabbits, 4.0% for poultry, 3.6% for cattle, and 1.5% for pets.

To learn more about the national action plan for reducing the risks of antibiotic resistance in veterinary medicine Ecoantibio 2017:

National Action Plan for the Reduction of the Risk of Antibiotic Resistance in Veterinary Medecine