New survey shows growing awareness of the benefits of veterinary medicines

A survey across the UK and 7 other European countries asked people about the use of veterinary medicines for the treatment and prevention of diseases in pets and farm animals. The survey, commissioned by NOAH’s European animal health association AnimalhealthEurope, found good awareness of the benefits of medicines for the health and welfare of pets and farm animals, and of their role in helping farmers produce food more sustainably. However, some people were not aware of the strict rules already governing the authorisation and use of veterinary medicines.

Most people agreed on the importance of vaccination for animals on farms. In the UK, 79% of those asked agreed farm animals should be vaccinated regularly, and 87% agreed that for farm animal disease, prevention is better than cure. Furthermore, 65% said regular vaccination can help to reduce the need to use veterinary antibiotics on farms.

Benefits recognised included:

  • 73% believed veterinary medicines have a positive impact on the welfare of farm animals;
  • 76% believed the vaccination of farm animals helps to prevent diseases being transferred to people;
  • 80% believed that healthy farm animals enable farmers to produce and supply food in a sustainable manner;
  • 84% believed healthy farm animals will produce better quality products.

For pets, preventive care was also seen as important, with 81% agreeing pets should be vaccinated regularly. 83% agreed that pets should be checked by a vet regularly (at least once per year) and 88% believed it is important to regularly use tick and flea prevention when keeping a pet.

There were some areas where knowledge on the rules and regulations on the use of veterinary medicines was limited. For example, 55% were unaware that use of hormones as growth promoters in farming has been banned in the UK since the 1980s, with 61% not aware that antibiotics have been similarly banned for growth promotion purposes since 2006.

NOAH Chief Executive Dawn Howard said: “We are delighted to see great support for our UK farmers and vets in this survey, with 83% agreeing farmers care for the health and welfare of their animals. We are also encouraged by the recognition of the positive contribution of veterinary medicines to our lives, and the role healthy animals play in sustainable UK farming. Prevention is truly better than cure and this year in particular has shown the importance of vaccination.

“Where misunderstandings and concerns do exist, such as around the use of antibiotics to treat farm animals, we will continue to help address these and help explain the strict regulations that govern the authorisation of all animal medicines and the work we all do to support their responsible use.”

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Notes for Editors

  1. For further information contact Alison Glennon at NOAH on 07510062566, email a.glennon@noah.co.uk

  2. NOAH represents the UK animal health industry. It promotes the benefits of safe, effective, quality products and services for the health and welfare of all animals.

  3. NOAH is a member of AnimalhealthEurope, which represents 12 of Europe’s leading manufacturers of animal medicines and 17 national associations in 19 countries, covering 90% of the European Market. The animal health industry provides tools for veterinarians to care for around 700 million animals in Europe, supporting 5.7 million livestock farms and 85 million pet-owning households across Europe.

  4. AnimalhealthEurope commissioned Produkt+Markt to carry out an online survey among citizens in the UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. The target group was a representative and balanced sample of citizens in terms of regional distribution, gender and age (>18 years), and counted 6,000 respondents (1,000 per country – Sweden, Norway and Denmark combined). The survey focused on topics covering the right to receive medicines, animal welfare, disease prevention and cure, as well as zoonoses, food safety and general awareness.

  5. The NOAH summary is here and details of the overall European statistics are available from AnimalhealthEurope here