The sales of veterinary antibiotics are declining in most countries in Europe, a report from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has found.
Newly published data, from 2015, found that the sale of antibiotics to treat animals fell by 13.4% over the previous four years.
But there are variations across Europe, the figures suggest, with 15 countries showing at least a 5% drop and eight countries, including Poland and Spain, reporting an increase of more than 5%.
The UK, France and Norway are among those countries where sales of antibiotics for food-producing animals have been falling in recent years.
Given the substantial decline in the sales of antimicrobials for food-producing species observed in some countries there is the potential for others to do better, the report suggests.
The EMA said the positive overall trend suggested that European Union guidance and national campaigns on prudent use of antibiotics to combat drug resistance were starting to have an effect.
Sales data for the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) was first collected in 2010, initially for only nine countries.
In January 2017, the EMA and the European Food Safety Authority adopted a joint scientific opinion on measures to reduce the need to use antimicrobial agents in animal husbandry, which recommended a ‘reduce, replace and rethink’ approach.