UK pig sector sets new targets for critically important antibiotics use
UK pig producers are being asked to reduce their use of certain “critically important” antibiotics under new guidelines adopted by the sector’s independent agency promoting responsible medicine use.
The Responsible Use of Animal Medicines Alliance (RUMA) is urging farmers to reduce their use of fluoroquinolones, third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins and colistin, reports Pig World.
RUMA says farmers should only use those groups of antibiotics when no other product will be effective for the condition being treated.
Reducing the use of those specific antibiotics is expected to be a focus of RUMA’s key targets for reducing antimicrobial use, which are set to officially release in October.
Dubbed the Targets Task Force, RUMA is also expected to set sector-specific targets for the pig sector once industry organizations have submitted their own proposals in June.
RUMA secretary general John Fitzgerald said the list of antibiotics was selected after examining evidence from European health agencies related to the impacts of antibiotic use on animal and public health.
The list will be reassessed as new science emerges, and the pig sector may choose to add other classes of antibiotics if extra monitoring is deemed necessary, he added.
Sales of critically important antibiotics make up a small proportion of the total amount of antibiotics use in UK livestock production, and sales data shows the industry is already working to make reductions.
Sales of both fluoroquinolones and third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins fell between 2014 and 2015.
Meanwhile, although colistin sales were static between 2014 and 2015, this was almost a tenth of the EMA’s recommended level of use, veterinary data shows.