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NPA urges members to become Antibiotic Guardians

13th Nov 2017 / By Alistair Driver

AB guardian

The NPA is urging pig producers to sign up to become ‘Antibiotic Guardians’, as World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) gets underway.

ABsWAAW aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and encourage best practice in human an animal medicine. 

The UK livestock sector is currently taking significant steps to reduce usage. The latest official Government figures showed sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals dropped by 27% between 2014 and 2016, falling to their lowest level since records began in 1993.

Overall usage in the pig industry dropped by 35% in 2016, figures extracted from the eMB-Pigs database show, with use of Critically Important Antibiotics falling by 73% and now making up a tiny proportion of overall use. The industry has recently been set the target of reducing overall usage by 62% by 2020 from a 2015 baseline. 

Over the coming week, the NPA will be issuing a series of messages on Twitter highlighting progress made and best practice in the pig sector, and urging the industry to continue its excellent progress.

Among the messages to be issued to today is a reminder for anyone connected to the pig industry to sign the pledge to be an Antibiotic Guardian. You can do so via this link, selecting, for example, ‘farmer’ from the list of options and then choosing from a list of pledges or selecting your own.

Suggested pledges include:

  • To help reduce the need for antibiotics I will work with my veterinary surgeon to keep an up to date Animal Health Plan. This will include, if necessary, changes to farm practices such as biosecurity
  • If I have a disease on my farm, I will work with my vet to identify the cause and any preventative measures or changes to practice which could stop spread or re-infection, so as to reduce the need for antibiotics in the future
  • I will keep my animal(s) healthy through good nutrition and husbandry, relevant vaccination and worming, regular health monitoring or scoring, and by having regular veterinary health checks  

Other messages posted by the NPA today under the hashtag #WAAW2017 include:

“The UK pig industry is acutely aware that responsible use of antibiotics is vital to prevent further development of ‪#AntibioticResistance.”

“UK pig farmers only give antibiotics to their pigs to control or treat diseases & only under veterinary supervision.”

NPA senior policy advisor Georgina Crayford, who put together the NPA’s Antibiotic Stewardship Programme and will this week appear on a panel to discuss the launch of a report by the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, said:

“We are proud of the progress made by the UK pig industry to reduce and refine antibiotic use and believe the new targets set will be challenging but achievable.

“We will be getting those message across this week, and also urging the industry to continue to play its part, including, if you haven’t done so already, signing up to become Antibiotic Guardians.

“We know that farmers will already be doing these things, but pledging to be an Antibiotic Guardian will demonstrate publicly that farmers recognise they have a part to play in using antibiotics responsibly.”