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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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ZSL London Zoo shares animal X-rays

News Story 1
 A selection of X-ray images showing the inner workings of frogs, turtles, snakes and geckos have been shared by veterinary surgeons at ZSL London Zoo.

Taken as part of a routine health check, the images have been shared as part of ‘Vets in Action’ week - a hand’s on role-playing experience for children that explores the life of a zoo vet.

ZSL London Zoo veterinary nurse Heather Mackintosh said: “It’s great to be able to share the work that goes on behind the scenes at the Zoo to keep our residents in tip-top condition – and our visitors are always amazed to find out more about their favourite animals.” 

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News Shorts
Vets in developing nations given free access to BSAVA’s online library

BSAVA has teamed up with the WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to offer vets in developing nations free access to its online library.

The Association’s ‘Foundation Collection’ is comprised of more than 70 hours of articles, lectures and book chapters covering topics such as basic handling skills, working on a budget and emergency triage. Some of the countries set to benefit include Albania, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania.

Nicolette Hayward, of BSAVA International Affairs Committee said: “Our mission is to promote excellence in small animal practice through education and science, so we are delighted to work with WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to share these high-quality resources to the veterinary profession in low and middle-income countries.”