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CMO praises pig industry antibiotic success again

10th Sep 2018 / By Alistair Driver

The UK’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) has again praised the work of the pig sector in reducing and refining antibiotic use.

Dame SallyThe NPA sent the latest version of our Antibiotic Stewardship Programme to Dame Sally Davies, after it was updated in the summer.

Her office replied with the following message: “It is fantastic to read of the recent success of the Pig Sector in reducing antibiotic use; this is something that Dame Sally frequently references in her talks and praises the sector for their hard work.”

Dame Sally opened the Pig World-AHDB Antibiotic roundtable event in June (pictured), praising the industry for the progress made so far, while stressing there is more to do.

“I am proud of how well you are doing with antibiotics You have halved antibiotic use in two years – we are aiming by 2020 to hit 99mg/PCU and we are well on the way. You are also reducing high priority critically important antibiotics, which is very important,” she said.

“We are making progress and I am proud of that, but we need to keep going – it is a job half done, there is further to go. It will not be easy, but it must be done.”

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 antibiotics, 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 generation 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 antibiotics 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 responsible use of antibiotics.
  • Farmers and vets are working together to improve biosecurity and disease control 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 production.