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Home > News > NPA blog: Latest antibiotic figures represent a huge success - but zinc oxide challenge remains

NPA blog: Latest antibiotic figures represent a huge success - but zinc oxide challenge remains

16th Jun 2023 / By Rebecca Veale

The eMedicine Book (eMB) figures for the pig sector in 2022 were published by AHDB on June 13 and what a success; a 20% reduction since 2021 with us now reaching a new low of 70mg/PCU. That’s a 75% reduction since 2015!

Rebecca Veale 2Use of the highest priority critically important antibiotics remains at a very low level too, with a slight decrease to 0.013 mg/PCU in 2022, and no colistin use reported again.

Huge congratulations to all involved because this demonstrates that even during the most challenging times and a backlog of huge proportions, pig producers and vets can deliver whilst the health and welfare of pigs remains a priority.

This means that as a sector we have hit the RUMA target for antibiotic reduction two years ahead of schedule.

However, it is important to note the targets were put together with the expectation that zinc oxide would be lost in 2022 and so with it still being available (albeit in limited quantities and not for that much longer as stocks deplete) we haven’t seen the full effect of this yet and therefore we’re only part way through this journey.

None of us know exactly how the loss of zinc oxide will play out and what it will mean for antibiotic use because the removal of zinc oxide for those that have already taken the leap has been variable.

Each and every unit has to find what works for them and there is no one stock solution – we simply can’t map this out. We have always talked about the reduction in the use of antibiotics in terms of being responsible and that will not change.

The health data and eMB figures we use to confidently tell our story is really important so we must appreciate the work that goes into collating this data – thank you, AHDB!

What everyone should take away is that the sector is in a very good place ahead of the loss of zinc oxide and for that, producers, vets and everyone else involved in the health of our pig herd, should be really proud.

And here's a reminder of the incredible progress that has been made since 2015.

Antibiotic use 2022