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Are you an Antibiotic Guardian?

16th Nov 2016 / By Georgina Crayford

The NPA is urging all members to become Antibiotic Guardians by signing up to a simple pledge. 

As you will know already, this week is World Antibiotic Awareness Week when the spotlight will again be on how we all use antibiotics to treat both human and animal disease.

AG logoTo mark the week, we are encouraging members to do everything they can to be responsible users of antibiotics, so we can play our part in tackling the problem of drug resistance.

This includes signing up to become an Antibiotic Guardian through this website, which targets anyone with an interest in the subject, including medics, farmers, members of the public and academics.

To make the pledge, select the 'Farmers' option under the 'Members of the Public' banner and choose your pledge from the following list:

  • To help reduce the need for antibiotics I will work with my veterinary surgeon to keep an up to date Animal Health Plan. This will include, if necessary, changes to farm practices such as biosecurity
  • If I have a disease on my farm, I will work with my vet to identify the cause and any preventative measures which could stop spread or re-infection, so as to reduce the need for antibiotics in the future
  • If my vet prescribes antibiotics, I will give them in accordance with the instructions provided – e.g. dose, withdrawal period – and make sure that unused or expired products are returned or disposed of correctly and not given to animal(s) for which they have not been prescribed.
  • I will keep full record of all medicines purchased and used in my animals – including in-feed and in-water medicines
  • I will annually review and discuss the antibiotic use on my farm with my vet, and look for ways of optimising my use as necessary
  • I will keep my animal(s) healthy through good nutrition and husbandry, relevant vaccination and worming and by having regular veterinary health checks

It might only seem to be a small step but it is all about ensuring we as an industry are doing - and are seen to be doing - everything we can to be responsible users of antibiotics.

We have been set a big challenge and it is about to get bigger as new targets for antibiotic usage are agreed next year. But we are up for it and should be proud to say so!

What else to look out for in World Antibiotic Awareness Week

  • Please take a moment to remind yourselves of the key principles of our Antibiotic Stewardship Programme, including the commitment to record usage data electronically on eMB-Pigs.
  • NPA has issued a press release outlining progress in implementing the stewardship programme.
  • The RUMA (Responible Use of Medicines in Agriculture) Alliance has issued a stout defence of antibiotic usage in livestock, following the publication of a letter by leading medics calling for a UK ban on preventative mass medication.
  • RUMA has launched a new website to explain the facts about antibiotic usage in livestock.
  • Follow the NPA's Twitter feed during Antibiotic Awareness Week for regular insight and information on the use of antibiotics in pig farming. 
  • NPA is awaiting the latest annual figures for 2015 on livestock antibiotic usage, due out this week, with interest.