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‘Antibiotic-free’ labelling misleading - RUMA
RUMA has warned that labelling meat and milk products as "Antibiotic-Free" could be misleading for consumers.
Alliance warns that claims could also cause unnecessary animal suffering

Labelling products as “Antibiotic Free” has the potential to mislead consumers, the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance has warned.

RUMA said that such labelling implies that products not marketed in this way contain antibiotics, which is not the case, as there are strict rules governing the administration of antibiotics to farm animals in the UK.

Recent moves to label products as “Antibiotic-Free”, “Reared Without Antibiotics”, or “No Antibiotics Ever” has led the RUMA Alliance to reinforce its position that it does not support the marketing of any milk or meat product on the basis of such claims.

The Alliance said that while it welcomes efforts to minimise antibiotic use through improved health and welfare, it does not support the labelling of these claims for marketing.

“The main concern is causing unnecessary suffering and associated welfare issues by withholding treatment from sick animals in order to comply with the label, when in fact the animals should be treated,” said RUMA. “Equally, if sick animals are taken out of that supply chain and appropriately treated, then the wider system of production does still include antibiotic use, which may not be clear to consumers.”

RUMA also said that while the terms may be used to differentiate products in some countries where the use of antibiotics for growth promotion is still permitted, it is not relevant or helpful in the EU where this practice has been banned since 2006.

The Alliance continues: “RUMA is committed to ensuring antibiotics are used in animal production only when necessary, and when used that the right antibiotics are given in the most effective way possible to cure animal disease while minimising the risk of antibiotic resistance developing.” 

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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BSAVA announces winner of 2019 Bourgelat Award

One of the world’s leading small animal medicine specialists is set to receive the prestigious Bourgelat Award at BSAVA Congress 2019.

Professor Mike Herrtage will be recognised for his major research into metabolic and endocrine diseases, including diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease.

During his career, Prof Herrtage has co-authored more than 100 scientific papers and written more than 200 other publications such as abstracts, books and chapters. He also continues to be a source of inspiration for thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary surgeons.