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Chief vet welcomes fall in antibiotic use
“The reduction in antibiotic usage achieved by the UK pig industry over the last two years is excellent" - Christine Middlemiss. 

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

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”