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Urgent action needed to tackle disposal of antibiotics - UN
Once consumed, most antibiotic drugs are excreted un-metabolised, along with resistant bacteria, through urine and faeces.
Study finds release of drugs into the environment is driving AMR

‘Careless’ disposal of antibiotics could lead to the emergence of ‘ferocious superbugs’ by driving antimicrobial resistance, according to United Nations (UN) experts.

Previous research has linked AMR to the misuse of antibiotics in humans and agriculture, but little attention has been given to the role of the environment and pollution.

This year’s Frontiers Report, released at the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, suggests the emergence and spread of AMR is being driven by antimicrobial compounds from homes, hospitals, pharmaceutical facilities and agricultural run-off being released into the environment; as well as direct contact between national bacterial communities and discharged resistant bacteria.

Once consumed, most antibiotic drugs are excreted un-metabolised, along with resistant bacteria, through urine and faeces, the report says.

Evidence also shows multi-drug resistant bacteria is prevalent in marine waters and sediments close to aquaculture, industry and municipal discharges.

“The warning here is truly frightening,” said Erik Solheim, chief of the UN Environment Programme. “We could be spurring the development of ferocious superbugs through ignorance and carelessness.”

Around 700,000 people die of resistant infections every year across the globe.

Mr Solheim continued: “This needs priority action right now, or else we run the risk of allowing resistance to occur through the back door, with potentially terrifying consequences.”

Solving the issue, according to the report, will involve tackling the use and disposal of antibiotics, as well as the release of antimicrobial drugs, contaminants and resistant bacteria into the environment.

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Vets save premature penguin chick

News Story 1
 Vets have saved a tiny Humboldt penguin chick after her egg was accidentally broken by her parents. Keepers at ZSL London Zoo were shocked to find the chick, named Rainbow, still alive and rushed her straight to the Zoo’s on-site veterinary clinic.

It was a little way to go until the chick should have hatched, so the process was touch and go. Vets removed bits of shell from around the chick with tweezers until she could be lifted out and placed in a makeshift nest.

Rainbow is now in a custom-built incubation room where she spends her days cuddled up to a toy penguin. Keepers will hand-fed Rainbow for the next 10 weeks until she is healthy enough to move to the penguin nursery.  

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News Shorts
BVA infographic to help shoppers understand farm assurance schemes

An infographic to help members of the public understand farm assurance schemes has been produced by the BVA. The infographic outlines BVA’s priorities for animal welfare and shows whether or not the schemes address these priorities in their standards.

BVA president John Fishwick said: “The infographic is not intended to be a league table but to allow people to understand what aspects of animal health and welfare are addressed by assurance schemes so that they can decide which scheme best aligns with their own individual preferences and priorities."