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Antibiotic sales for farmed animals fall to record low
Antibiotic use in the pig sector has dropped by 74 per cent since 2015.

Annual report shows almost 10 per cent drop.

The number of antibiotics sold for use in food-producing animals has fallen to its lowest recorded level, according to the latest UK-Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance Report (VARRS).

The data for 2022, published today (1 November), shows a drop of almost 10 per cent compared to the previous year. This means that sales have now decreased by 59 per cent since 2014.

However, although the sale of veterinary antibiotics decreased for most animal sectors where data is collected, there was a large increase in the trout sector, where it more than doubled. The British Trout Association has investigated this rise and found that an outbreak of Aeormas salmonicida on a small number of sites was responsible.

There was also a slight rise in sales of highest priority critically important antibiotics (HP-CIAs), which increased by 0.01 tonnes. However, HP-CIAs continue to make up less than 0.5 per cent of total veterinary antibiotic sales.

The annual VARRS report, published by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, is part of the Government’s ’20-year vision’ for controlling and containing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by 2040.

In 2019, a five-year National Action Plan for AMR was launched, which included a focus on reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics in the animal health sector. The Government is planning to launch a new five-year National Action Plan for AMR next year when the current action plan comes to an end.

Abi Seager, Veterinary Medicines Directorate chief executive said: “Antibiotic stewardship is embedded in UK farming and responsible use is essential to maintaining our high animal health and welfare standards.

“I’m encouraged that our vets and farmers continue to make reductions in their antibiotic prescribing and use.

“We are continuing to expand monitoring to build upon our current knowledge and control the spread of AMR to strengthen the UK’s biosecurity.”

The new data has been welcomed by the veterinary profession.

British Veterinary Association president Anna Judson said: “Antibiotic resistance is a really serious issue for the health of both people and animals, and so it is fantastic to see continued progress in reducing the sale and use of these important medicines. This has been achieved through the hard work of the veterinary profession in co-operation with farmers over the past ten years, but there is still work to do.

“We must continue pushing forward, building greater awareness of the issue, or risk losing medicines that are essential for treating many serious conditions.”

 

Image (C) Shutterstock

 

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Charities' XL bully neutering scheme closes

News Story 1
 A scheme that helped owners of XL bully dogs with the cost of neutering has closed to new applications due to high demand.

The scheme, run by the RSPCA, Blue Cross, and Battersea, has helped 1,800 dogs and their owners after XL bullies were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

In England and Wales, owners of XL bully dogs which were over one year old on 31 January 2021 have until 30 June 2024 to get their dog neutered. If a dog was between seven months and 12 months old, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If it was under seven months old, owners have until 30 June 2025.

More information can be found on the Defra website. 

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News Shorts
Avian flu cattle outbreak spreads to tenth US state

Cattle in two dairy herds in Iowa have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), making it the tenth state in the USA to be affected by the ongoing outbreak of the disease in cattle.

Since March 2024, more than 80 herds across the USA have been affected by the virus and three dairy workers have tested positive. Authorities have introduced measures to limit the spread of the virus and farmers have been urged to strengthen their biosecurity protocols.

Mike Naig, Iowa secretary of agriculture, said: "Given the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within dairy cattle in many other states, it is not a surprise that we would have a case given the size of our dairy industry in Iowa.

"While lactating dairy cattle appear to recover with supportive care, we know this destructive virus continues to be deadly for poultry."