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Effects of ivermectin application on the diversity and function of dung and soil fauna: Regulatory and scientific background information

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The application of veterinary medical products (VMPs) to livestock can impact soil organisms in manure‐amended fields or adversely affect organisms that colonize dung pats of treated animals, and potentially retard the degradation of dung on pastures. For this reason, the authorization process for VMPs in the European Union includes a requirement for higher‐tier tests when adverse effects on dung organisms are observed in single‐species toxicity tests. However, no guidance documents for the performance of higher‐tier tests are available. Hence, an international research project was undertaken to develop and validate a proposed test method under varying field conditions of climate, soil, and endemic coprophilous fauna at Lethbridge (Canada), Montpellier (France), Zurich (Switzerland), and Wageningen (the Netherlands). The specific objectives were to determine if faecal residues of an anthelmintic with known insecticidal activity (ivermectin) showed similar effects across sites on: (1) insects breeding in dung of treated animals, (2) coprophilous organisms in the soil beneath the dung, and (3) rates of dung degradation. By evaluating the effects of parasiticides on communities of dung‐breeding insects and soil fauna under field conditions, the test method meets requirements of a higher tier test as mandated by the European Union. The current paper provides contextual information on authorisation requirements for VMPs, and on the structure and function of dung and soil organism communities. It also provides a summary of the main findings. Subsequent papers in this issue provide detailed information on different aspects of this overall project. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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