A promised UK taskforce to help develop “meaningful targets” to replace, reduce and refine antibiotic use in each agricultural sector is set to begin work next month.
Announced three months ago by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance, the taskforce idea emerged following the publication of the O’Neill Review on Antimicrobial Resistance’s final report.
With broad agreement having been reached across RUMA’s 25-strong membership on how to proceed, a preliminary workshop is due to be held in September with the taskforce proper convening its first sessions on October and November.
While the Chief Veterinary Officer has indicated there will be a target of 50mg/kg average antimicrobial use across the UK farming industry by 2018, RUMA’s desire is that the taskforce will help create more meaningful solutions to the antibiotics issue.
“To us, the 50mg/kg target and other such finite figures should be indicators of success, not the end destination,” said RUMA’s secretary general John FitzGerald (pictured above).
“So, instead, the task force will help each sector develop some really smart objectives that will reduce disease burden, improve immunity and use products more effectively, all while maintaining the best standards of animal welfare.”
Mr FitzGerald also stressed the importance of focusing on what solutions will work in the UK, adding that while there were lessons to learn from other countries’ experiences in reducing antibiotic use, direct comparisons were never simple.