The volumes of antibiotic sales do not accurately reflect their use. Recent antibiotics are more active and require the administration of a lower amount of product. In order to assess the exposure of animals to antibiotics, it is necessary to take into account in particular the dosage and duration of administration, but also the evolution of the animal population over time. The ALEA (Animal Level of Exposure to Antimicrobials) estimates the level of exposure of animals to antibiotics.
The first Ecoantibio 2012-2016 plan aimed to reduce antibiotic use by 25 % in 5 years, paying particular attention to the use of critical antibiotics in veterinary and human medicine. These antibiotics are used when those prescribed in the first instance are ineffective. The overall target of the first plan was achieved with a 37 % reduction in animal exposure to antibiotics in 5 years.
The Future Law for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (LAAAF2, Law No 2014-1170 of 13 October 2014) has added specific objectives for antibiotics of critical importance in human medicine.
It has thus set a target of 25 % reduction in the use of antibiotics belonging to the families of Fluoroquinolones and 3rd and 4th generation Cephalosporins in three years, 2013 being the reference year. This target was achieved and largely exceeded in 2016.
The second EcoAntibio 2017-2022 plan aims to include in the long term the decrease in exposure of animals to antibiotics. It provides actions for communication and training, for access to alternatives to antibiotics and the improvement of animal diseases prevention. A specific target for colistin, an antibiotic frequently used in veterinary medicine and reserved in human medicine for severe cases, aims at a 50 % reduction in exposure to this antibiotic in five years in the bovine, porcine and poultry sectors.