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EU ban on antibiotics hailed as, “victory for responsible investors”

26 October 2018
Key Topic(s)
Animal Welfare
Antibiotics & Health
  • European parliament approves restrictions on the use of antibiotics on healthy farm animals to halt spread of “superbugs” resistant to medically-important antibiotics.

  • $9 trillion investor network FAIRR has been calling for action to phase out the ‘systemic overuse’ of antibiotics by the meat and wider animal protein industry since 2015. Hails new legislation as a, ‘victory for responsible investors’.

  • 97% of European Parliament members voted in favour of the legislation, which will come into force in 2020.

 (London, 26 October 2018). The $9.2 trillion investor network FAIRR (Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return) has welcomed yesterday’s approval in the European Parliament of new legislation to ban the prophylactic use of antibiotics in farming from 2022.

Estimates suggest that over 70% of the world’s antibiotics are used in farming – to compensate for the substandard living conditions of animals where disease outbreaks are common and harder to control. However strong evidence suggests this overuse has contributed to an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can spread to people, rendering antibiotics ineffective for both humans and animals. Dr. Margaret Chan, former director-general of the World Health Organization, has warned this could lead to an “end to modern medicine as we know it.”

The new legislation bans the preventative mass medication of groups of healthy animals and the use of unprescribed antimicrobials. The new EU legislation still needs to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers, but provisional approval by the Council was given earlier this year.

FAIRR was founded in December 2015, and the first shareholder engagement it facilitated

was to ask large food companies such as McDonalds to phase out the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics important to human health in their global meat and poultry supply chains. The engagement focuses on the investment risks and has been highly successful. Of 20 global companies engaged by FAIRR, 19 have now implemented policies on antibiotic stewardship.

Jeremy Coller, Founder of the FAIRR Initiative and Chief Investment Officer of Coller Capital said:

“Europe’s new restrictions on antibiotic use on farm animals are both inevitable and welcome news. Responsible investors have been engaging with companies for nearly three years through FAIRR to help them understand the direction that legislation is heading on antibiotics, and to help them manage the investment risk emerging with antibiotic resistance.”

 Today’s new legislation is a huge step away from preventative group treatments of healthy animals towards a more responsible use of antibiotics in livestock farming.”

FAIRR also supports the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics, a coalition of health, medical, farming, environmental and civil society organisations from across the EU, which has been calling for restrictions such as those announced yesterday since its founding in 2009.

Investors seeking more information on corporate use of antibiotics can now access company level data using the Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index. Launched this summer, the Coller FAIRR Index includes data on antibiotic stewardship for 60 of the largest listed meat, fish and dairy companies.

Notes to editor

  • For more please contact: Elliot Frankal, ESG Communications,<br />t: + 44 (0)7989 524780 | e:;


The FAIRR Initiative is a collaborative investor network. It aims to raise awareness of the material impacts factory farming and poor animal welfare can have on investment portfolios, and works to help investors share knowledge and form collaborative engagements on these issues.