Publications IFAH calls for responsible use of antimicrobials ‘As little as possible, as much as necessary’

IFAH calls for responsible use of antimicrobials ‘As little as possible, as much as necessary’


16 November 2011 – Egmond aan Zee, the Netherlands– At the International Conference on Responsible Use of Antibiotics in Animals in the Netherlands today, the International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) called for collaboration and coordination to promote the responsible use of antimicrobials.

Keynote speaker Olivier Espeisse, French veterinarian and Chairman of the IFAH Antibiotic Working Group, said: “The need to fight bacterial diseases is and will continue to be a pressing concern, and the need for scientific understanding of how resistance emerges, disseminates and proliferates has never been greater. Whilst the industry continues to invest in research and development to add new treatments to the veterinarian’s toolbox, antimicrobials will continue to play a crucial role in the fight against bacteria in animals.

Antimicrobials are a powerful tool for veterinarians, but they must be used responsibly. This is not simply a matter of increasing or decreasing levels used. It means deciding in every individual circumstance if the use is necessary or worthwhile. If the individual occurrence of diseases increases rapidly, more antibiotics may be necessary, while fewer can be used when the occurrence of diseases is in decline. This is all derived from a simple guiding principle: As little as possible, as much as necessary.

The responsible use of medicines is widely encouraged by the industry and other animal welfare organizations. IFAH and its members are engaged in numerous activities to promote responsible use at multinational, regional and national levels, in collaboration with different stakeholders such government agencies, non-governmental organizations, veterinary and farmer organizations. These collaborative partnerships are essential for effective co-ordination of activities, and ensuring that treatments can be issued safely and appropriately.”

Notes for editors

The International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) is an organisation representing manufacturers of veterinary medicines, vaccines and other animal health products in both developed and developing countries across five continents. The mission of IFAH is to foster a greater understanding of animal health matters and promote a predictable, science-based regulatory environment that facilitates the supply of innovative and quality animal medicines, vaccines and other animal health products into a competitive market place. These products contribute to a healthy and safe food supply as well as a high standard of health and welfare for animals and people.

For further information on IFAH, please visit