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Pig industry making huge strides in reducing antibiotic usage, NPA report shows

1st Aug 2018 / By Alistair Driver

The National Pig Association (NPA) has updated its widely-praised 2016 Antibiotic Stewardship Programme to showcase the tremendous progress made by the pig sector in reducing and refining antibiotic use.

NPA Antibiotic Steward Programme 2018In a new report published today, the NPA highlights the significant reductions in the pig sector’s usage over the past two years and the extent to which it has embraced data recording.

The report can be viewed here 

It demonstrates the how the entire industry - from producers and their representative bodies to vets and feed, pharmaceutical and building companies – is working with support from Government to address the antibiotic challenge.

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.


NPA senior policy advisor Georgina Crayford said: “We first published the Antibiotic Stewardship Programme in May 2016 to coincide with the findings of Lord Jim O’Neill’s global review of AMR.

“It outlined the pig industry’s commitment to use antibiotics more responsibly and the progress made in the two years since has been nothing short of staggering. That is testament to the way all parts of the industry have come together to, first accept, then rise to the challenge – this is a truly collaborative effort.  

“This updated report is about fostering further action within our industry, but also highlighting to the otherwise uninformed the huge amount of activity going on within the pig sector towards this aim. 

“Everybody understands that there is still much more to do. But after reading this report, it will become clear to everybody just how hard this industry is working to reduce and refine antibiotic use and improve overall pig health.”

The report will be sent to MPs who have previously expressed an interest in the subject and will also be made available online for other interested stakeholders.