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Ukraine: Campaign to limit the use of feed antibiotics

Ukraine’s biotechnological company Epikur has posted a petition on the website of the national Parliament demanding to limit the use of feed antibiotics in the country. If signed by 25,000 citizens by 5 December 2019 the petition would be passed to the Parliament hearing to be considered as a draft bill.

The authors of the appeal raised concerns over the antimicrobial resistance and superbugs, claiming that “there was no any statistical information that would be registering the use of antibiotics in food industry, which is uncontrolled, as well as the relevant consequences”. Epikur spent 2 years to develop a technology of growing broilers using an antibiotic-free diet, Olexey Kovalenko, director of Epikur said during a press-conference in Kiev September 4. “Our company managed to achieve sustainable results of producing poultry meat without the use of feed antibiotics. This is real, although it requires certain efforts, strict programme, a strong will from the company as well as discipline,” Kovalenko said.

Epikur spent 2 years to develop a technology of growing broilers using an antibiotic-free diet. Photo: Dennis F. Beek
Epikur spent 2 years to develop a technology of growing broilers using an antibiotic-free diet. Photo: Dennis F. Beek

Main trends and standards

The technology was introduced at the Vladimir-Volyn poultry farm in Ukraine in 2017. Thanks to that project as of today 2% of poultry meat on the Ukraine’s market is grown without any use of feed antibiotics, according to Epikur.

“Realising in which way the main trends and standards or our industry are going, 4 years ago we began working on a programme of growing poultry without antibiotics. As of today, we can safely say that we beat our target as the production performance of poultry on the antibiotic-free diet are only slightly differing from those on the diets involving antibiotics,” Alina Sych, general director of the Vladimir-Volyn poultry farm, said during the same press-conference.

No political will

Over the past few years Ukraine analysts have been saying that the antimicrobial resistance was not as a high profile topic in the country as it was in the European Union of the US. There is rather poor consumer awareness in Ukraine society about superbugs, and so the demand for poultry meat produced without antibiotics is rather limited. As explained Kovalenko, Epikur decided to initiate a petition because the company had been repeatedly applying to the government agencies requesting to amend the national legislation in terms of using antibiotics in feeding farmed animals. There were no refusals on those requests, but even the officials doubted that any progress in this area could be achieved because there were persons not interested in that kind of changes, Kovalenko said, adding that the new petition in his opinion would become a test for the new Ukraine’s government. There was no any reaction to the petition from the Ukraine government officials. The Ukraine biggest poultry producer MHP has also not issued any comments to All About Feed by press time.