UK Livestock Sector Commitment Continues to Drive Down Drug Use

According to information provided at the recent British Cattle Veterinary Association congress, alterations made to the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme (RTA) have driven further reductions in the use of High Priority Critically Important Antibiotics (HP-CIAs) across the UK.

Following the introduction of the new RTA standards in 2018, HP-CIA usage has fallen by a tremendous 92 percent. 

Under the new RTA standards, CIAs can only be used only as a last resort and require vet approval which is guided by sensitivity or diagnostic testing.  In addition, farms must record their annual medicine usage and discuss the use of these critical antibiotics with their vet.

The UK livestock sector has already made significant in-roads in antibiotic use reduction and these most recent results follow on from previous reductions in drug use.  In October 2017, the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) announced that the sales of antibiotics to treat and prevent disease in UK livestock had reduced by 27 percent in the preceding two years.   Prior to this most recent reduction, overall UK sales of antibiotics for food-producing animals in 2017 was 37mg/kg and this is one of the lowest in the EU. 

Alongside the 92 percent reduction in HP-CIAs, total sales of antibiotics fell by 22 percent during the same period.  This reduction occurred despite the fact that lower priority antibiotics often require a larger dose of the active ingredient to be successful.  This reduction in total sales therefore further demonstrates the commitment by the UK livestock sector to continue to reduce overall usage.

The FUW continues to support moves to reduce and protect antibiotic use in livestock and continues to work with numerous stakeholders on this issue. 

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