Pig sector has more than halved its antibiotic use in two years
Chief vet Christine Middlemiss has welcomed new figures from the National Pig Association (NPA) that show there was a 28 per cent fall in antibiotic usage in 2017.
The figures represent 87 per cent of pigs that were slaughtered in the UK last year and show that total antibiotic usage fell from 183mg/PCU in 2016 to 131mg/PCU.
The reduction means that the pig sector has more than halved its use of antibiotics in two years, building on the 34 per cent reduction reported in 2016.
Commenting on the figures, Ms Middlemiss said: “The reduction in antibiotic usage achieved by the UK pig industry over the last two years is excellent. This has been achieved by the sector working together and following a clear agreed plan of action, which is focused on responsible reductions alongside the prevention and management of disease.”
She added: “This approach is essential for the sustainability of British agriculture and will help to maintain the effectiveness of antibiotics in the future.”
The figure comes just seven months after a task force set up by RUMA published new targets to further reduce the use of antibiotics in the livestock sector.
NPA senior policy advisor Georgina Crayford said: “This figure demonstrates the continued hard work and commitment displayed by pig farmers, aided by veterinarians and other farm advisers, to use antibiotics more responsibly.
“We knew it would be challenging to meet the agreed reduction targets, but the pig sector is rising to that challenge and making progress every day. Nonetheless, the pig industry’s efforts will not stop here. There is further work to be done to reduce antibiotic use, such as improved collaboration between farmers to tackle endemic disease.”
Image (C) Defra