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Dairy group to deliver on antibiotic targets
The dairy stewardship group brings together farming, veterinary, processing and support functions.

Group will deliver objectives through ‘Targets Task Force’ initiative

A new dairy stewardship group has been launched to deliver on a range of antibiotic targets due to be announced later this year.

Bringing together farming, veterinary, processing and support functions, the Dairy Antimicrobial Stewardship Group aims to identify the responsibilities and actions required of different organisations to achieve the targets and monitor progress.

The group will develop its objectives through the 'Targets Task Force’ initiative, which was set up by RUMA to meet the government’s target for farm antibiotic use of 50mg/kg by 2018.

The 'Targets Task Force' aims to identify meaningful objectives for reducing, refining and replacing antibiotic use at farm level, with targets due to be announced at the RUMA conference on October 27.

The dairy group, chaired by Di Wastenage, Devon dairy farmer and council member for the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF), will feed back its progress to RUMA as work progresses.

“Antibiotic use is of growing importance given concerns over antibiotic resistance. The formation of the group is important to deliver the strategy and will ensure the dairy sector is well-placed to reach its targets,” said Mrs Wastenage.

“Reducing the use of antibiotics must not compromise the health and welfare of dairy cows either, which is why a responsible approach to this challenge is needed.The strategy will also be an opportunity to improve the health and welfare of the dairy herd, and to raise productivity.”

She adds that special training for vets and farmers will be key to achieving the group’s goals, equipping both professions to join forces on responsible use.

“I’d like to thank all the organisations that have committed to participate in the group. The broad level of representation shows how important the issue is to the industry and I look forward to working with them over the next few years,” Mrs Wastenage adds.

The Dairy Antimicrobial Stewardship Group consists of: AHDB, Arla Foods, British Cattle Veterinary Association, Dairy UK, Lactalis, Livestock Auctioneers Association, National Milk Records, National Office for Animal Health, RABDF, Red Tractor, RUMA and the UK farming unions – National Farmers Union of Scotland, Farmers Union of Wales, NFU England and Wales, Ulster Farmers Union.

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Scheme to protect wildlife and reduce flooding

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 Natural England has announced a new scheme to improve flood protection, boost wildlife and create 160 hectares of new saltmarsh. The £6 million scheme in Lancashire will effectively unite the RSPB’s Hesketh Out Marsh Reserve and Natural England’s Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve. The completed reserve will be the largest site of its kind in the north of England. 

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Welfare event to discuss ethical dilemmas faced by vets

Students and ethics experts will host an event on the difficult moral challenges facing vets. Ethical issues, such as euthanasia and breeding animals for certain physical traits, will be discussed by prominent speakers including TV vet Emma Milne and RSPCA chief vet James Yeates. Other topics will include how to tackle suspected animal abuse and the extent of surgical intervention.

The conference will look at how these dilemmas affect the wellbeing of vets, and explore how to better prepare veterinary students for work. It will be held at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus from 30 September - 1 October 2017. Tickets can be purchased here.