Bacterial strains resistant to one or more antibiotics are now found everywhere and antimicrobial resistance is a complex and evolving phenomenon that has the potential to cause serious animal and public health problems at international level. Containment of bacterial resistance becomes an important goal in human medicine, considering the nosocomial infections and resistant pathogens acquired in the community. Since 1997, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has recognised the need to work on curtailing antimicrobial resistance, to find an appropriate balance between the need to use antimicrobials to promote animal health, production and welfare and the risk of antimicrobial resistance. It is important to work towards this goal. It is also important to consider the responsibilities of the regulatory authorities and international organisations that work in this area. In addition, risk management measures and strategies for the prudent use of antimicrobials have now been introduced and it is crucial to understand the impact which they have had.