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Pig industry making huge strides in reducing antibiotic usage, report shows

The National Pig Association (NPA) has updated its widely-praised 2016 Antibiotic Stewardship Programme to showcase the tremendous progress made by the pig sector in reducing and refining antibiotic use. 

In a new report published today, the NPA highlights the significant reductions in the pig sector’s usage over the past two years and the extent to which it has embraced data re-cording. 

It demonstrates the how the entire industry - from producers and their representative bodies to vets and feed, pharmaceutical and building companies – is working with sup-port from Government to address the antibiotic challenge. 

The updated Pig Industry Antibiotic Stewardship Programme report, which was compiled with support from members of the Pig Health and Welfare Council’s subgroup on antibi-otics, shows how: 

 Overall antibiotic usage in pigs halved in just two years between 2015 and 2017. The sector is on track to meet its target of reducing usage to 99mg/PCU by 2020. 

 

 Usage of the Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics - 3rd and 4th genera-tion cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones and colistin - fell from 0.98 mg/PCU to just 0.1 mg/PCU in 2017. HP-CIAs represented just 0.08% of total antibiotic use in pigs last year. 

 

 Antibiotic data submitted to the pioneering electronic Medicines Book (eMB), which now has a benchmarking facility, covered 87% of pigs slaughtered in the UK in 2017. 

 

 Red Tractor standards have been updated to help drive responsible use of anti-biotics in pig production. 

 

 A new cross-sector Animal Medicines Best Practice training programme was launched by the National Office of Animal Health at the House of Commons in July to educate producers and their staff about antimicrobial resistance and re-sponsible use of antibiotics. 

 

 Farmers and vets are working together to improve biosecurity and disease con-trol on farms to raise the overall health status of the national pig herd. 

 

 

 The feed industry is also supporting the drive, working with producers to ensure optimum nutrition delivers benefits to pig health at the different stages of produc-tion. 

 

NPA senior policy advisor Georgina Crayford said: “We first published the Antibiotic Stewardship Programme in May 2016 to coincide with the findings of Lord Jim O’Neill’s global review of AMR. 

“It outlined the pig industry’s commitment to use antibiotics more responsibly and the progress made in the two years since has been nothing short of staggering. That is tes-tament to the way all parts of the industry have come together to, first accept, then rise to the challenge – this is a truly collaborative effort. 

“This updated report is about fostering further action within our industry, but also high-lighting to the otherwise uninformed the huge amount of activity going on within the pig sector towards this aim. 

“Everybody understands that there is still much more to do. But after reading this report, it will become clear just how hard this industry is working to reduce and refine antibiotic use and improve overall pig health.” 

The report will be sent to MPs who have previously expressed an interest in the subject and will also be made available online for other interested stakeholders. 

Notes for editors 

1) The updated Pig Industry Stewardship Programme can be viewed here 

2) The original programme, published in May 2016, set out a number of priorities for the industry to reduce and refine antibiotic use, including: 

 Capture and collate accurate antibiotic use data from pig farms 

 Benchmark each farm’s antibiotic use against other farms of a similar type 

 Extend education in effective disease control strategies 

 Reduce antibiotic use, consistent with responsible human and food-animal medi-cine 

 Promote veterinary prescribing principles to strictly limit the use of antibiotics of critical importance to human health. 

For further information please contact: 

Dr Georgina Crayford, NPA senior policy adviser 

Mobile: 07551 155654; Email: Georgina.crayford@npanet.org.uk 

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