We support agricultural producers in reducing their use of antibiotics. Our goal: to avoid antibiotics in animal husbandry wherever possible.
The administration of antibiotics to livestock is subject to very strict statutory regulations.
In German livestock husbandry, antibiotics are only administered to animals for which a veterinarian has previously identified a veterinary indication. Supplementary feeding with antibiotics with goal of promoting growth has been banned in Germany since 2006.
Pork and beef from Tönnies is now almost free of antibiotic residue. In fact, 99.98 per cent of inhibitor tests are without complaint. This is verified by the several thousand samples taken every year as part of the official ante and post mortem checks and in the Tönnies Health Analytics Laboratory. In essence, this has also contributed to our reduction strategy which we pursue in collaboration with our agricultural producers and which we continue to drive ahead.
Nowadays, the problem is less of residues but rather of the development of antibiotic resistances. Most resistances develop in human medicine. However, animal production must also contribute to ensuring that resistances do not develop further. The use of antibiotics selects bacteria and pathogens that would benefit from the use of antibiotics over their competitors without resistance properties. These bacteria would thus multiply more quickly. With the increase in resistant germs, treatment with antibiotics will become ever more difficult and the antibiotics lose their effectiveness. This link applies to stock animals as well as people.
Thus for Tönnies: antibiotics play a role in the treatment of sick animals; however, they should be used as little as possible.
Infobox on antibiotic-free fattening
Antibiotic-free rearing in the fattening phase of pigs (approx. 30-120 kg)
Separate examination, treatment and marking of sick animals with ear marks
Treated animals or cycles where group treatment was necessary are removed from the programme
Random inspections for antibiotics residue in our Health Analytics Laboratory
Exclusively companies from North Rhine-Westphalia
Looking further ahead
Tönnies diligently supports the established antibiotics reduction measures. In addition, with our own antibiotic reduction strategy drafted with our own producers and several pilot projects we make a significant contribution to further reducing antibiotic use to only the necessary level. For this reason, we support our producers in reducing the use of antibiotics and thus help to reduce antibiotic resistance. It is reassuring that the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry has been falling for years. Together with our producers, veterinarians and supervisory bodies, we are on the right path.
We continue to strive for improvement in animal health and reduction of antibiotic use, and we use our resources to support the farmers. In our pilot projects, we create incentives so that the farmer can deal with reducing antibiotics in pig fattening to the greatest extent possible.
At the same time, we work together with partners in the QA Prüfzeichen [Test Mark] and the dairy industry to find strategies for expanding the minimisation approaches for cattle. In fact, the use of antibiotics in this sector is already at a low level. However, during lactation in particular, blanket local applications are often administered for the udders.
Our goal is to further reduce the total quantity of antibiotics used and, at the same time, to increase the number of animals fattened without the administration of any antibiotics at all.