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David Black Award winner praises team effort behind antibiotic reductions

24th Nov 2019 / By Alistair Driver

NPA chairman Richard Lister described the pig industry’s success in driving down antibiotic use as a team effort as he received the coveted David Black Award on Monday night.

David Black Award ListerRichard received the honour at the National Pig Awards from AHDB Pork board chair Mike Sheldon, who said he had demonstrated 'pioneering leadership' in helping to establish the first ever industry targets to encourage the responsible reduction of antibiotic usage as part of the RUMA Targets Task Force.

You can see Richard receiving the award here

The UK pig sector is currently on track to reach the ambitious target of reducing usage from from a 2015 baseline figure of 278mg/PCU to 99 mg/PCU in 2020. The 2018 figure was 110mg/PCU, according to figures collected using eMB-Pigs, made even more impressive by the fact that use of Critically Important Antibiotics (CIAs) has dropped to negligible levels.

Accepting the award, Richard described it as a ‘huge honour’, given the illustrious list of previous David Black winners.

He thanked all those involved in the ‘industry’s fantastic antibiotic reduction programme’, starting with ‘all the pig farmers out there and their vets who have driven this change’.

“It has been fantastic that everybody has got on board with it – well done and thank you to everybody involved,” he said.

He singled out Pig Veterinary Society past-president Mark White, who he worked with on the task force to formulate pig industry targets and ‘did a fantastic job challenging everything we did’.

He thanked people who had given their expertise and time to sit on various steering groups, including the group behind the success of eMB Pigs in recording antibiotic data and the Pig Health and Welfare Council’s antimicrobial sub-group. He also highlighted the ‘fantastic efforts’ made by AHDB’s Mandy Nevel and Jane Newman in making eMB-Pigs work for producers.

Richard said the success so far in recording and driving down usage had changed perceptions of the industry. The progress made has prompted praise from the likes of Government Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies, Defra Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss and Lord O’Neill, author of the game-changing 2016 report on the global AMR problem.

But he stressed there was still more to be done. Richard and Pig Veterinary Society (PVS) president Richard Pearson are representing the pig sector on the reconvened RUMA task force to identify post-2020 targets and goals for antibiotic use in the UK pig sector.

“A 60% reduction is a fantastic achievement, but there is undoubtedly a great deal more to be done,” he said.