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VARSS report - more reaction

17th Nov 2016 / By Alistair Driver

Confirmation of a notable reduction in sales of antibiotics for UK livestock has been welcomed by the Government and the livestock industry. 

The UK-VARSS report showed overall sales of antibiotics by weight dropped by 9 per cent from 2014 to 2015. Sales for use in food-producing animals dropped 10 per cent from 62 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) to 56mg/kg. 

You can see the NPA's reaction here to the new data indicating the pig sector is leading the way in cutting back on antibiotic usage. 

Defra Minister for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity Lord Gardiner said: 

Lord Gardiner“Antibiotic resistance is the biggest threat to modern medicine and we must act now to help keep antibiotics effective for future generations.

This report shows the hard work of our vets and farmers is already making a real impact.

“Our farmers and vets are setting an excellent example for others around the world to follow, upholding the UK’s position at the forefront of international efforts to tackle AMR.” 

UK Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens, said:

nigel gibbens“The UK is making good progress in the fight against AMR and it is particularly encouraging to see how engaged and committed the industry is to this cause.

“Those who work with animals have a key role to play in the global fight against antibiotic resistance to monitor use and reduce it wherever we can. Clearly, we must not ease up in our efforts, but it is great to see that we are on track.”

RUMA (Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture) secretary general John FitzGerald said:

JFG“We are delighted to see the hard work that has been taking place in the farming industry over the past couple of years is already paying off.
“This is a complex challenge and it’s a fine balance to reduce and refine use of antibiotics without compromising animal welfare. These results bode well for the 2016 figures as momentum builds in tackling the challenge of antibiotic resistance in farm animals.”
"Of particular note is a 23 tonne (10 per cent) reduction in sales of products licensed for both pigs and poultry, and 16 tonne (24 per cent) fall in pig-only products."

"Furthermore, what appears to be an increase in pig samples testing positive for the ESBL E. coli bacteria that transfer resistance is actually due to a change in testing methodology, with parallel testing using the previous method showing little change from two years ago when it was last the turn of the pig sector to be tested.

 “This means we are not seeing any increased risk to humans from transmission of antimicrobial resistance through food, and good kitchen hygiene rules still apply – washing hands after handling raw meat and thorough cooking of meat will almost completely prevent the transmission of resistant bacteria.

“However, these findings do highlight the challenge; tackling antibiotic resistance is going to take more than just a reduction in use – we need a multi-faceted approach which includes strategic use of a range of medicines to reduce and eliminate disease pressure while we also increase inherent immunity to disease among our farm animals.”