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NPA seeking your views on antibiotic targets

3rd Apr 2017 / By Alistair Driver

The NPA is today opening a consultation with members on what forthcoming long-term antibiotic targets for the pig sector should look like.

ListerNPA chairman Richard Lister is representing the pig sector on a task force set up specifically to negotiate new antibiotic usage targets for each sector this year. Mark White from the Pig Veterinary Society will provide the veterinary perspective.

The task force held its first meeting in December and formal talks with Government officials on new antibiotic targets will commence in June, with a view to reaching agreement by the end of July.

The targets will be based on usage, rather than sales, and set from a 2015 baseline using industry-wide data collated on the eMB-Pigs database. The latest figures showed 2015 data representing 59% of finishers was already on the system and, with 70% expected to be hit soon.

It has not yet been decided whether the target will be a specified usage figure (mg/kg) or a percentage reduction.

There is an agreement in principle to use the ESVAC method of calculation used across the EU. This uses the milligrams (mg) of active antibiotic in a product and a Population Correction Unit (PCU), an estimate of average weights in the herd at the time of treatment.

Richard said: “We can set the target over any time period we wish, within reason, so we will probably be looking at three to five years.”

For more analysis and background on the antibiotic targets, see this article Pig World’s April edition.

Your views

The NPA wants to hear your views on the following:

  • What do you think is achievable as an antibiotic reduction target for your business?
  • What time frame should the reduction plan cover? Is three to five years sensible?
  • Should we also be looking at other targets, for example, specific restrictions on Critically Important Antibiotics or on how antibiotics are administered to pigs?

We will be starting a discussion on our forum. To take part, email or go to the NPA forum.

Please include ‘antibiotic targets’ in the subject field, state your name in the email and confirm you want your views to be made public.

Alternatively, you can feed into our consultation without your comment being published. Simply state in your email that you want your views to remain private.

The targets will be discussed at the spring regional meetings (dates below) and Richard is calling for members to come along and make your views known.

Remaining NPA spring regionals:

  • South Central: April 4, 6.30pm, Newbury RFC, RG14 7RW. Guest speaker Chris Padfield Nuffield scholar
  • East: April 11, 6pm, Diss RFC, IP22 5RG. Guest speaker Sandra Edwards
  • South West: April 25, 6.30pm, Gypsy Hill Hotel, Exeter EX1 3RN. Guest speaker James Morrish, Kivells Auctioneers.

Critical targets

Richard said: “Getting these targets right is absolutely critical for our sector, which is why we are going to consult as widely as possible within the NPA membership, so as an industry, we can come to a figure that is challenging but achievable.

He said the pig sector should have little to fear from the antibiotic targets.

“Pig people are getting on board with the message that the industry needs to reduce and refine antibiotic use and are already showing the courage to change.

“The VMD has worked well with the industry in terms of developing eMB-Pigs and getting the messages across. Between us there is an understanding that, while there is a very definite need for us to reduce usage, we must not lose sight of the fact that the health and welfare of livestock will always be paramount.”