Interim report shows UK farming’s progress towards antibiotic use targets

The targets were developed last year by the Targets Task ForceThe UK farming industry is progressing towards achieving 2020 targets for antibiotic use in each of eight different livestock sectors.
The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) has released a half-year summary of the UK industry’s progress towards achieving the targets.
The targets, developed last year by the Targets Task Force and published in October 2017, include a number of numerical and qualitative goals towards reducing, refining or replacing antibiotic use in UK farm animals.
The Targets Task Force comprises a leading veterinary surgeon and farmer from each of the beef, dairy, egg, fish, gamebird, pig, poultry meat and sheep sectors, who have been consulting with key organisations in their respective industries.
While the targets each sector has set vary according to the availability of data and scope in their sector, the targets as a whole have been described as ‘positive and proactive’.
RUMA’s secretary general, Chris Lloyd says a comprehensive review of progress is due in November.
“In the meantime this four-page summary provides a flavour of some of the activities being implemented to build on the successful reduction of 27% in overall farm antibiotic sales 2014-2016,” Mr Lloyd said.
He added that it’s important to note each sector is very different – in terms of when they were first able to engage with the issue, disease pressure, number of producers and structure.
“This is why some have already made significant changes and are ‘refining’ how and when antibiotics are used, while others are working on bigger issues of data, communication and usage ‘hotspots’,” Mr Lloyd said.
“But whatever the stage, all remain fully engaged on driving improvement and best practice to ensure the targets can be achieved by 2020.”
It follows news that sales of antibiotics to treat and prevent disease in UK farm livestock have achieved a record low following a 27% reduction over the past two years.