Work starts on co-ordinated approach to antibiotic reduction in UK farming

A new industry-driven “Targets Task Force” recently held its first meeting to discuss how meaningful objectives to reduce, refine and replace antibiotic use in all UK livestock sectors can be identified.

The group, set up by RUMA (Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture) discussed how each sector could play its part in what is an international push across human and animal medicine to reduce the use of antibiotics.

“Currently, the UK is among the lower users of antibiotics in farming in Europe,” said RUMA chair, Gwyn Jones. “Recently published antibiotic sales data for food producing animals also shows a 10% reduction between 2014 and 2015, progress the industry hopes to continue.

“Despite this, we all understand the message that we must further reduce antibiotic use where it’s possible to do so without impacting animal welfare.”

Mr Jones added that the benefit of the Targets Task Force became apparent at this first meeting, in the sharing of information, ideas and motivation, generating confidence that by learning and getting inspiration from each other across different sectors, the group can bring about the step change needed.

RUMA’s membership consists of 26 of the UK leading farm sector organisations, including the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC), The British Poultry Council (BPC) and the Game Farmers’ Association (GFA).

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