The WHO (World Health Organisation) have called on farmers worldwide to stop using antibiotics to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals.
The over use of antibiotics has lead to antibiotic resistance and is now seen as a potential health time bomb.
The WHO recommendations are part of new guidelines to help ensure drugs remain effective in fighting life-threatening diseases in humans.
Overuse and misuse of antibiotics in animals and humans have contributed to the growth of superbugs which are immune to existing drug treatments.
"A lack of effective antibiotics is as serious a security threat as a sudden and deadly disease outbreak," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement launching the UN agency's new recommendations.
"Strong, sustained action across all sectors is vital if we are to turn back the tide of antimicrobial resistance and keep the world safe," he added.
The WHO has said that healthy animals should only receive antibiotics to prevent disease if it has been diagnosed in the same flock or herd.
Antibiotics it continues should only be used as the last line of defence.
The use of antibiotics in the EU for growth promotion is banned.
Antibiotic resistance has been flagged by a number of leading Irish vets in recent years as one of the biggest challenges of our generation.
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