MEP raises medicated feed concerns

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Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson, has raised concerns about the possible implications for the agricultural industry of proposals which would restrict the preventative use of medicated feed during a debate in the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety this week.

MEPs were discussing a proposed regulation which would replace existing legislation governing how medicated feed is manufactured, placed on the market and used.

Commenting after the debate , Mr Nicholson said: “As farmers and vets will know medicated feed is one of the most effective ways of administering medication to animals. Having fit for purpose standards governing how medicated feed is produced, placed on the market and used is important for animal health and welfare, food safety and human health.

“During our debate this week I did however raise a number of concerns about the impractical nature of some aspects of the proposed Regulation, including the proposal to ban the preventative use of medicated feed. The preventative use of medicated feed in a responsible way is a key management tool for farmers.”

Mr Nicholson concluded: “Changing the situation so that medicated feed can only be administered when there are clinical signs of disease present will mean that the medication is being administered too late – this can have serious animal welfare implications.

“Imposing impractical, unworkable rules could also see feed companies ceasing to offer this service to customers which would not be a good development for the agri-food industry. As is often the case these proposals do not consider the practical realities of agriculture and food production and I will continue to work closely with the industry to amend them wherever possible. It is crucial that these proposals are actually workable on the ground.”