UK - The British Poultry Council (BPC) says it has been setting milestones for the responsible stewardship of antibiotics over the last year, as new data has been released on the subject this World Antibiotic Awareness week.
Animal agriculture has often come under fire for overuse of antibiotics, which encourages dangerous bacteria to develop resistance to these life-saving drugs. The poultry and pig sectors were particularly singled out by a group of top medics who earlier this week urged the UK government to crack down on antibiotic use in farming.
However, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s (VMD) latest report collating sales of antibiotics used in UK livestock (the VARSS Report) highlighted a number of achievements of the British poultry industry.
In 2015 antibiotic use in poultry meat production accounted for only 13.5 per cent of the total used in food animal production.Meanwhile, the use of last-resort antibiotic colistin has been stopped in poultry meat production, and the use of fluoroquinolones antibiotics has seen a reduction of 52 per cent from 2014.
The chicken meat sector has stopped the prophylactic (preventative) use of antibiotics.
BPC Chairman, John Reed, said: “Since 2011 we have worked with the VMD to collect accurate poultry meat specific data, and we are delighted that we have reduced our use of antibiotics by 43 per cent. Our priority remains the health of our birds, and the responsible therapeutic use of antibiotics is crucial.”
Mr Reed continued: “We have made a good start but we are on a continuing journey. The use of antibiotics, even critically important antibiotics as a last resort, to safeguard bird health is vital to the sector.”
You can view the full report by clicking here.