Advisory Report by BuRO concerning the implementation of regulations that will regulate veterinary usage of antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance is a threat to public health. Resistance that is caused by application of antibiotics for treating livestock can in the end transfer to human pathogens. The greatest risk for development and spreading of antimicrobial resistance occurs when pathogenic bacteria are exposed to non-lethal concentrations of antibiotics. Better methods for applying and reduction of usage can reduce that risk.

New EU regulations have been formulated that are based on the most recent scientific insights, but these contain open standards that have to be explicated by each member state. BuRO has conceived a number of recommendations for the ministry of Agriculture and the Inspector-General of the NVWA with the aim of minimalizing the risks of resistance due to application of antibiotics for livestock. These are relevant for the inspectors of the NVWA, veterinarians, producers and sellers of antibiotics as well as the owners of livestock.

For example, BuRO recommends to exercise increased oversight on veterinarians who prescribe more antibiotics than is usual for comparable practices and on animal farmers who use more antibiotics than similar farms. 

In addition to the above recommendations, BuRO will investigate the possibilities to reduce spreading of antibiotics via manure or milk from farms to the environment. Moreover, BuRO will examine whether formulating microbiological criteria for the quality of animal feed can contribute to limiting the exposure of livestock to pathogenic bacteria. This way the need for antibiotic treatment can be reduced.


The regulations EU 2019/4 on the manufacturing, trading and usage of medicated animal feed and EU 2019/6 on animal drugs will be in force from January 28th 2022 onwards. In the regulations stipulations are included specifically on antimicrobial drugs, such as antibiotics. The regulations are part of the enforcement mandate of the NVWA and the correct application of antibiotics has long been a point of attention.

Both regulations leave room to the national authorities for implementing specific policies regarding the application of antibiotics. Hence, tailor made implementation of the regulations is needed to guarantee good veterinary care with minimal development and spreading of resistance.  

The aim of this advisory report, a self-mandate of BuRO, is to make suggestions for the practical implementation by the NVWA of the tasks that ensue from these regulations in a manner that prevents development and spreading of antimicrobial resistance as much as possible, without harming animal health and animal welfare.