AnimalhealthEurope survey shows growing awareness of the benefits of veterinary medicines

A survey commissioned by AnimalhealthEurope, across 8 European countries canvassed the knowledge and opinions of citizens towards the use of veterinary medicines for the treatment and prevention of diseases in pets and farm animals. On the one hand, results show a lack of awareness on the rules for use of veterinary medicines, and some citizens express concerns about the use of certain medicines. On the other hand, awareness on the benefits of their use for both animal welfare and sustainable food production is well recognised.

When it comes to farm animals the vast majority of respondents agree on the importance of vaccination. 69% agree farm animals should be vaccinated regularly, and 74% agree that for farm animals, it is better to prevent disease than to cure it. Furthermore, 61% say that regular vaccination can help to reduce the need to use veterinary antibiotics on farms. 

Benefits recognised include:

  • 61% believe veterinary medicines have a positive impact on the welfare of farm animals;
  • 68% believe the vaccination of farm animals helps to prevent diseases being transferred to people;
  • 77% believe that healthy farm animals enable farmers to produce and supply food in a sustainable manner;
  • and 80% believe healthy farm animals will produce better quality products.

When it comes to pets, preventive care is also recognised as important with 76% of respondents agreeing pets should be vaccinated regularly. 78% agree that pets should be checked by a vet regularly (at least once per year) and 80% believe it is important to regularly use tick and flea prevention when keeping a pet.

A lack of knowledge on the rules and regulations on the use of veterinary medicines was identified however, with 40% of respondents thinking that organic farms are not allowed to use veterinary antibiotics. 59% are unaware that use of hormones as growth promoters in farming is not allowed in Europe, and 62% don’t know that the use of veterinary antibiotics as growth promoters in farming is not allowed either.

Commenting on the survey findings, Roxane Feller AnimalhealthEurope Secretary General said, “Awareness on the numerous benefits is encouraging as we, along with our membership, have dedicated a lot of effort into communicating the positive contributions that veterinary medicines offer and the role healthy animals play in a sustainable future for Europe. We are also pleased to note that 74% of respondents stated that they believe farmers care for the health and welfare of their animals. What is concerning is the lack of awareness on the rules for use, especially around antibiotics, as this is what often leads to misinformation permeating peoples’ views and opinions, as well as news stories or reports. Our sector will endeavour to communicate more and better on those topics in the months and years to come.”

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–      AnimalhealthEurope commissioned Produkt+Markt to carry out an online survey among citizens in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. 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.

–      This is the second survey of European citizens carried out by AnimalhealthEurope. A similar survey was conducted in 2016.

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