A once in a lifetime opportunity
This is about something which may happen only once-in-your-lifetime, when, after years of struggle, a chance for you to help make big and desperately important changes comes along. Politicians rarely think beyond the next election, many businesses worry about quarterly results, and the media tend to focus on the immediate – but campaigning groups like the Soil Association work to totally different time scales. Together with our members we often campaign for decades for what we know is right, persevering until real change becomes possible.
We are facing one of these moments now. After years of our campaigning, the Government and regulators have finally accepted that farm antibiotic use needs to be cut significantly, but we now need to make sure that this is achieved through kinder farming methods which improve the health and welfare of farm animals.
Thanks to your support, we have been working to stop the overuse of antibiotics in farming for over 20 years, and we have had moments of real impact. We’ve seen the use of antibiotics to promote the growth of farm animals banned in Europe, advertising of antibiotics direct to farmers banned, and the European Parliament vote for a ban on routine preventative use of antibiotics. We co-founded the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics which increased our influence in the UK and the EU.
But in all that time, we have faced representatives of industrial farming, drug companies and Government regulators who have claimed that the use of antibiotics in farming is hardly contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance when people get sick.
But even this is now changing, as a Government-commissioned report recently concluded that there is “compelling” evidence that antibiotic resistance does transfer from farm animals to humans via food and through the environment. Both the World Health Organization and the European Food Safety Authority agree.