More than half of all antibiotics that are used globally are used in agriculture, for instance as feed additives to prevent diseases in healthy animals. All uses of antibiotics can lead to bacteria developing resistance and its effect waning or entirely ceasing. Increased resistance leads to increased costs for animal husbandry and human medicine that are not reflected in the price of antibiotics. Moreover, new antibiotics need to be found, but that requires costly research and development. Those costs are not also reflected in the price of existing antibiotics.
Much of the antibiotics use in agriculture can be replaced by other preventive measures, but they cost more than antibiotics. In this project, we analyse consequences for antibiotics use, food production and trade of introducing a fee on antibiotics use in agriculture that covers the cost of antibiotic resistance. The project is completed in 2023.