The UK federal government is being advised to prohibit antibiotic usage on healthy stock in line with the EU following research by World Animal Defense that discovered antibiotic resistant superbugs unsafe to public health in rivers and lakes beside factory farms in Spain, the USA, Canada and Thailand.

The report, ‘ Silent superbug killers in a river near you’, discovered Prescription antibiotic Resistance Genes (ARGs) downstream from factory farms and infected samples upstream in areas with a high concentration of pig farms. This suggests agriculture could be discharging ARGs and superbugs into the larger environment as an outcome of pig waste being spread on fields and dripping into public waterways.

Antibiotics are given to healthy animals in poor factory farm conditions to stop them getting sick and the EU will be banning this practice from 28 th January2022 The UK imports 60%of its pork products[1](832,000 tonnes each year[2]) from nations including Spain and the U.S.A. determined in the report. Pigs on agriculture internationally are cruelly caged, painfully mutilated and young animals are taken from their mothers at a young age.

Lindsay Duncan, World Animal Security farming projects manager said, “Superbugs emerge due to the overuse of antibiotics on animals in factory farms and we’re calling on the UK federal government to follow the EU’s lead and restriction routine usage. Raising animal well-being on farms is important to minimizing antibiotic use and helping avoid antibiotic resistance which the World Health Organisation (WHO) price quotes will eliminate 10 million people a year by 2050[3]

The superbug crisis poses a hazard that could eclipse the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, more than 700,000 people die each year from superbugs where antibiotics are inefficient in dealing with infections.

The World Animal Defense examination discovered ARGs resistant to prescription antibiotics including: third generation cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones, colistin and macrolides, which are of a lot of concern to the WHO. These prescription antibiotics are the last line of defense for typical infections like urinary system infections or to keep patients alive with harmful conditions like breathing infections, when other antibiotics fail.

The WHO recommends that antibiotics should not be regularly utilized to avoid disease across groups of stock[4] Despite this, the practice stays widespread on harsh factory farms with as much as 75%of the world’s prescription antibiotics used on stock[5]

Suzi Shingler, Alliance to Save our Antibiotics campaign supervisor,” These findings are extremely disconcerting as they show that it’s possible for any resistance emerging among farm animals to send out of the farm by means of the surrounding waterways. To combat this, we want to see an increase in whole farm systems that put animal health and well-being at the core of business. Research study is progressively showing that high animal welfare has the fantastic ripple effect of requiring really low quantities of medication provided to the animals.”

World Animal Defense also spoke with individuals from regional communities to gauge their experiences and firsthand accounts. Lots of grumbled about the farms but were too afraid to speak out.

One smallholder farmer who wanted to stay anonymous in Thailand stated:

” Rice does not grow the method it must when the farms launch the water to the field. Some rice crops are damaged and some simply die. Fish can’t also reside in the pond, it’s in fact the whole environment in this area. I utilized to grumble about this, however nothing has actually happened.”

Another resident, known as simply Rosa, who resides in the Aragon region in Spain said:
” Without water there is no future, and here we do not have any water to spare. These towns will not make it through if you can not open the windows, or be outside or walk, if you can not consume the faucet water, or if we lose our excellent attraction, which is the landscapes and harmony.

” The meat lobby is extremely powerful, and the profit of a few business is taking precedence over public health.”

In England the most recent figures from the Environment Firm reveal that all rivers have stopped working to meet quality tests for contamination with agricultural run-off one of the essential sources of pollution.[6]

World Animal Protection is requiring governments to prohibit the regular use of prescription antibiotics to prevent disease throughout groups of stock and to make sure that remaining agriculture satisfy FARMS animal welfare requirements at a minimum.

You can check out the full report here


Notes to Editors

For media interviews, images or video, please contact: George White; [email protected]; 0207239 0634; 07814 695 298

  1. Superbugs are antibiotic-resistant germs and have been called one of the greatest threats to international health and development. The overuse of prescription antibiotics has actually led to the spread of superbugs, and impacts millions of people around the world, particularly in developing nations.
  2. The United Nations Environment Program has acknowledged that antibiotics are utilized to mask low welfare conditions on farms and called for an end to unsustainable farming practices and more financial investment in sustainable, agroecological systems[7]
  3. A 2020 poll commissioned by World Animal Protection throughout 15 nations discovered that 88%of people are worried about superbugs from stock, and desire animals treated well. Two-thirds of individuals would help test for pollution from farms to hold big business to account.
  4. There is no international standard explaining the concentration at which superbugs in the environment become unsafe to individuals. As a result nobody is being held responsible and farm discharge of prescription antibiotics and superbugs into water ways are unmonitored.

Secret results from each country from the examination


Checking discovered ARGs resistant to tetracycline, streptomycin, cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones and macrolides in surface area water and sediments.


Evaluating discovered ARGs resistant to tetracycline, sulfonamides, cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones. ARGs from surface area water samples were up to 200 times higher than the baseline levels. Exceptionally high levels of ARGs were discovered in dust samples collected adjacent to farms. Evaluating of groundwater near farms likewise exposed very high levels of ARGs.


Checking of water and sediment discovered ARGs and superbugs resistant to 3rd generation cephalosporins, fluroquinolones, or colistin plus co-trimoxazole, gentamicin, amikacin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or amoxicillin.


Checking of water and sediment or soil found very large proof of ARGs communicating resistant to streptomycin, fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, macrolides and the majority of broadly tetracycline.


World Animal Defense looks for to produce a world where animal well-being matters, and animal ruthlessness has ended.

[1] Pig World UK exports up html


[2] Pig meat trade


[3] Review on Antimicrobial Resistance. Antimicrobial resistance: dealing with a crisis for the health and wealth of nations. Chaired by Jim O’Neill.2014 Available from: Evaluation Paper – Taking on a crisis for the health and wealth of nations_1. pdf

[4] World Health Organisation. WHO standards on use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals.2017 eng.pdf

[5] Ritchie, H. Three-quarters of antibiotics are used on animals. Offered from: three-quarters-of-antibiotics-are-used-on-animals-heres-why-thats-a-major-problem

[6] Environment Firm. The state of our waters: the realities: the-state-of-our-waters-the-facts/


[7] United Nations Environment Programme, Avoiding the next pandemic: Zoonotic illness and how to break the chain of transmission. 2020.

Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of World Animal Defense, on Wednesday 7 April,2021 To find out more subscribe and follow

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