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Veterinary antibiotic sales halved in four years
Overall sales of highest priority critically-important antibiotics (HP-CIAs) dropped an additional 19 per cent between 2017 and 2018.

Vets welcome findings from latest VARRS report 

Sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals have fallen by more than half in just four years, according to the latest Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance Sales and Surveillance Report (VARSS).


Published by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), the report reveals that sales of antibiotics for food-producing animals fell by nine per cent between 2017 and 2018, and by 53 per cent since 2014.

It also shows that overall sales of highest priority critically-important antibiotics (HP-CIAs) dropped an additional 19 per cent between 2017 and 2018, and 68 per cent since 2014. 


Furthermore, clinical surveillance of antibiotic resistance revealed that most of the key pathogens that cause disease in animals remained susceptible to authorised veterinary antibiotics, including those that have been authorised for many years.

Welcoming the figures, BVA junior vice president James Russell said: “We are pleased to see further reductions in antibiotic sales in the latest VARSS report, which is a testament to the hugely successful collaborative work being carried out by vets, farmers and the industry to steward responsible antibiotic use and champion greater disease prevention measures across each of the eight livestock sectors.

“It is particularly commendable to note that sales of antibiotics in food-producing animals have fallen by an impressive 53 per cent between 2014 and 2018. Antimicrobial resistance remains a huge concern for vets, which is why we must maintain this momentum in the face of the ongoing global threat it poses to the health of animals, humans and the environment.”

He continued: “While it is vital that we continue to build upon these achievements through evidence-based, sector-specific targets to further refine, reduce or replace antibiotic use, a large part of the future changes will involve promoting high animal health and welfare through disease prevention strategies, such as increasing uptake in vaccines. Ongoing improvements in veterinary-led health planning on farms will also help to further lower antibiotic use by reducing the incidence of endemic diseases.

“BVA is committed to providing continued leadership on the issue and will continue working with our specialist divisions, RUMA, the UK One Health Coordination Group, and other key stakeholders to build upon current achievements.”

The UK’s chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: “A 53 per cent reduction in sales of antibiotics for food-producing animals in just four years is a testament to the improvements industry and the veterinary profession have made in antibiotic stewardship, training and disease control. This is a great example of how real change can be achieved when Government and industry work together including through initiatives such as the Targets Task Force chaired by RUMA (Responsible Use Of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance.


“The focus on infection prevention and control is key to reducing the need to treat with antibiotics and maintaining the UK’s world-leading standards in protecting animal health and biosecurity.”

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New York to ban sale of foie gras

News Story 1
 New York City councillors have voted overwhelmingly in favour of legislation that will see the ban of foie gras in the city. The move, which comes in response to animal cruelty concerns, will take effect in 2022.


 Councillor Carlina Rivera, who sponsored the legislation, told the New York Times that her bill “tackles the most inhumane process” in the commercial food industry. “This is one of the most violent practices, and it’s done for a purely luxury product,” she said.


 Foie gras is a food product made of the liver of a goose or duck that has been fattened, often by force-feeding. New York City is one of America’s largest markets for the product, with around 1,000 restaurants currently offering it on their menu. 

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News Shorts
Humane Slaughter Association student scholarships open for applications

Applications for the Humane Slaughter Association’s student/trainee Dorothy Sidley Memorial Scholarships are now open.

The Scholarships provide funding to enable students or trainees in the industry to undertake a project aimed at improving the welfare of food animals during marketing, transport and slaughter. The project may be carried out as an integral part of a student's coursework over an academic year, or during the summer break.

The deadline for applications is midnight on the 28 February 2020. To apply and for further information visit www.hsa.org.uk/grants or contact the HSA office.