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UK veterinary antibiotic sales lowest in 25 years
Sales of the highest priority critically important antibiotics fell by 29 per cent between 2016 and 2017.
Report shows 18 per cent fall between 2016 and 2017

Sales of veterinary antibiotics in the UK have fallen to their lowest level in 25 years, according to a report published by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.  

The 2017 UK Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance (VARSS) report shows that sales of veterinary antibiotics fell by 18 per cent between 2016 and 2017 to reach a low of 37mg/kg. Sales have also fallen 40 per cent since the publication of the UK AMR strategy in 2013.

The report also found that sales of the highest priority critically important antibiotics fell by 29 per cent between 2016 and 2017 to 0.8 per cent of sales.

Rural affairs and biosecurity minister Lord Gardiner said: “These results show an encouraging reduction of antibiotic use in pigs, poultry and other food-producing animals. I hope that the results will set a further example for our food and farming sectors to tackle the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

“As we know, good farm management, biosecurity and animal husbandry systems are crucial to achieving this.

The UK’s chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, added: “A 40 per cent drop in sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals between 2013 and 2017 is an excellent achievement. This is the result of year-on-year improvement in training, stewardship, stockmanship and disease control.

“I praise the industry for their commitment to successfully deliver responsible use of antibiotics and reductions. We must continue to champion infection prevention and disease control to ensure high animal health standards and the optimised use of antimicrobials.”

The VARSS report provides the previous years’ data on the quantity of authorised antibiotics for use in animals sold throughout the UK and results from surveillance programmes looking at antibiotic resistance in animals.

This year’s report for the first time presents data on the use of antibiotics in the beef, trout and salmon industries, in addition to meat poultry pig, dairy, game bird and laying hens industries. 

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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.”