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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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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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News Shorts
NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”