What do we do?

The widespread use of antimicrobial agents in human and veterinary medicine has favoured the spread of resistance. In view of the transmission risk of highly antibiotic-resistant strains between animals and humans, controlling resistance is essential to safeguard the future efficacy of antimicrobial agents in veterinary as well as human medicine.

Therefore, a Center of expertise on Antimicrobial Consumption and Resistance in Animals (AMCRA) has been recently founded in Belgium, and is financed and supported by the following partners:

  • the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC)
  • the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP)
  • the Belgian Antibiotic Policy Coordination Committee (BAPCOC)
  • the Pharmaceutical Sector Organization (pharma.be)
  • the Belgian Agricultural Organizations:
  • ‘Boerenbond’ (BB), ‘Algemeen Boerensyndicaat’ (ABS) and ‘Fédération Wallonne de l’Agriculture’ (FWA)
  • the Belgian Association of Compound Feed Manufacturers (BEMEFA)
  • the Dutch speaking Supreme Council of the Order of Veterinarians (NGROD)
  • the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Ghent University (UGent)
  • the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Liège (ULg)

The AMCRA 2020 vision statement defines the guidelines of the policy relating to the use of antibiotics and to antibiotic resistance among animals in Belgium. It should lead to a rational use of antibiotics for all animals in order to limit the increase in and spread of resistance to antibiotics and to thereby protect human and animal health in the future. The plan comprises 10 objectives and action points linked to a precise schedule. The plan is clearly not complete and needs to be specified in greater detail before a number of measures or objectives are implemented. Its content will be developed in cooperation with the relevant authorities and players involved.


 AntiMicrobial Consumption and Resistance in Animals

The mission of AMCRA is to collect and analyze all data related to antimicrobial use and resistance in animals in Belgium and to communicate the outcomes in a neutral and objective manner, in order to safeguard both public and animal health and welfare, and to achieve a durable policy of veterinary antimicrobial use in Belgium. AMCRA has become operational from the 2nd of January 2012 and proposes guidelines to direct the whole animal industry towards a rational reduction of antimicrobial use.
A comprehensive advisory board will ensure a maximal participation of all stakeholders involved. The members of the advisory board will come together at least once a year to make recommendations to the board of AMCRA on working methods, tasks to be performed and/or specific subjects to be studied, and to evaluate the results of AMCRA. From the advisory board, experts will be recruited to be part of specific technical working meetings. Only through concerted action, the challenging goals of this industry-wide and unique initiative can and will be met.

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Who are we?

Evelyne De Graef Fabiana Dal Pozzo (E-mail): Coordinator
Bénédicte Callens, (E-mail): Scientific employee
Wannes Vanderhaeghen, (E-mail): Scientific employee unit datacollection antimicrobial consumption 
Veerle Piessens, (E-mail): Data-analyst unit datacollection antimicrobial consumption 
Jeroen Dewulf Jeroen Dewulf (E-mail) The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Ghent University is keen to help as an independent expert in trying to find solutions for the problems concerning antimicrobial use and resistance in animals. We are convinced that through thought, collaboration, and dialogue with all stakeholders involved we can provide the necessary support to safeguard both animal and public health.
Yvan De Jaegher Yvan De Jaegher (E-mail) "To measure is to know (to guess is wrong, to gamble is to pay): the registration of antibiotic use in animal production is a must! The compound feed industry, has also measured and continues measuring!
Antibiotic policy measures based on a thorough knowledge of the facts (facts & figures) provides the best results.
The whole chain initiatives as regards the use of antibiotics will give the best substructure.
Measures supported by all links in the chain, will allow an efficient approach to the problem of the antibiotic use, resulting in a total reduction of antibiotic use! Moving the problem is no solution.
The message is clear: registration, confrontation, sensibilisation, motivation, education and reduction!"
Davy Persoons Davy Persoons (E-mail) Antimicrobials are valuable tools in the preservation of a high health status in both humans and animals. Although continuous investment and innovation should be stimulated, the development of novel products is very expensive. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that antimicrobials are used in a correct and responsible manner, to minimize the potential development of antimicrobial resistance. Only through a durable policy of antimicrobial therapy, we will be able to maintain the efficacy of these valuable products and thereby guarantee the protection of animal and human health. 
Koen Mintiens (E-mail) "The trend of increasing resistance against the most common antibiotics is not only a threat to public health, but also to the livestock sector. The range of available antibiotics to treat sick animals takes off. The development of new antibiotics in the pharmaceutical sector is very limited, nevertheless, the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry remains necessary. Both from the aspect of animal welfare as from economic motives the treat of sick animals with antibiotics must remain possible. Antibiotics are indispensable and valuable medicines for each farmer but uncontrolled and irresponsible use leads to resistance. This must be avoided if we want to keep control on diseases by the use of antibiotics."
Chris Landuyt Stefan Van Goethem (E-mail) "The veterinarian plays an important role between farmer and government in the poultry, pig and cattle sector. Pet owners and veterinarians are increasingly more aware of the problem of the resistance towards antibiotics. It is of crucial importance the intervention of the veterinarian in the reduction of the use of antibiotics in livestock and companion animals, thanks to practical skills and scientific knowledge. A centralized data collection and the biannual reports received by the farmers are essential to improve the awareness of the farmer and the veterinarian about the situation at the farm level. Antibiotics have to be used but only in a responsible manner, in order to ensure animal welfare. Concerning the critical antibiotics, it is a challenge to minimize their use. The veterinarian has a crucial role to correct diagnosis, suggest alternatives such as vaccinations and advise management improvements to farmers."
Steering committee
FAVV Dries Minne (E-mail)
FAGG Pierre Naassens (E-mail)
BAPCOC Michiel Costers (E-mail)

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Our objectives for 2015

Within the framework of the agreement with the steering committee of AMCRA the following missions will be accomplished:

1) finalising the advices of the working groups vaccination/biosecurity and influencing factors on antibiotic use and evaluating and updating former advices;

2) providing advice in the development of the national data collection system (Sanitel-Med) in order to achieve harmonisation between the sector-linked systems and Sanitel-Med;

3) acting as a catalyst for responsible antibiotic use through communication with and awareness of the target public on a local and national level (i.a. by means of roadshows, spreading advices/objectives, etc.);

4) following the implementation of the different advices by means of an annual evaluation meeting;

5) stimulating the implementation of the different advices;

6) prospecting and taking care of contacts with international sister organisations.

In collaboration with all member sectors of AMCRA, ‘Vision 2020’ - the 10 objectives and action points for the veterinary antibiotic policy until 2020 – will be further concretised. For each of the action points 4 to 10, listed below, a plan will be worked out. This plan will be fine-tuned based on the input of external partners and the proper authorities. According as the realisation of the action points progresses, further action steps within the worked out policy, will be taken. This will confer to the realisation of the strategic objectives (points 1 to 3) and the different objectives mentioned above imposed by the steering committee.

The AMCRA 2020 vision statement defines the guidelines of the policy relating to the use of antibiotics and to antibiotic resistance among animals in Belgium. It should lead to a rational use of antibiotics for all animals in order to limit the increase in and spread of resistance to antibiotics and to thereby protect human and animal health in the future.

The 10 objectives and action points developed by the member sectors of AMCRA:

1. 50% lower antibiotic use by 2020

2. 75% lower use of the most critical antibiotics by 2020

3. 50% lower use of feed medicated with antibiotics by 2017

4. A global data collection system by 2016

5. A plan for each farm

6. Benchmarking of farmers and veterinarians

7. No antibiotics for prophylaxis, promotion of alternatives

8. Awareness-raising, repeatedly

9. Transparency and monitoring of suppliers and users

10. Surveillance of resistance to antibiotics


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Organization and structure of the center of expertise

In order to realize the above-mentioned tasks, an independent organization of limited size has been created. This organization has the legal form of a non-profit association. The staff of the organization must have a good knowledge of animal husbandry, the use of antimicrobial agents in veterinary medicine, and the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance.
It is very important that this organization can operate independently (not defending the interests of one specific partner group), and that it is widely supported and recognized by all stakeholders concerned and the government.

The structure of the knowledge center is as follows:

Organisatie en structuur van het kenniscentrum

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