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British poultry industry has reduced antibiotics use by over 75 percent in the last seven years

The latest Antibiotics Report from the British Poultry Council shows that Britain's poultry sector has dramatically reduced its antibiotics use and improved antimicrobial stewardship.

25 September 2020, at 11:08am

The British Poultry Council has released its 2020 Antibiotic Stewardship Report which highlights the achievements made by the British poultry meat sector’s drive for excellence in bird health and welfare that’s delivering responsible use of antibiotics and safeguarding the efficacy of antibiotics across the supply chain.

According to the new report, in the last seven years (2012-2019) the BPC Antibiotic Stewardship has helped achieve:

  • 76 percent reduction in the total use of antibiotics
  • 97.3 percent reduction in the use of critically important antibiotics

In 2019, the sector used

  • 19.7 tonnes of antibiotics
  • This accounts for 9.33 percent of the total antibiotics licensed for food producing animals. (Source VMD)

British Poultry Council Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said:

“With poultry being half the meat eaten in the UK, the British Poultry Council’s Antibiotic Stewardship plays a vital role in delivering good bird health and welfare; ensuring the sustainable and responsible use of antibiotics, safeguarding the efficacy of antibiotics, and helping produce food consumers trust.

British poultry farmers and veterinarians need antibiotics in their toolbox to protect the health and welfare of birds. Delivering excellence in bird health and welfare is the foundation of responsible use of antibiotics and is about so much more than reduction targets. Zero use is neither ethical nor sustainable as it goes against a farmer’s duty to address any health and welfare issues.

The British poultry meat sector stands committed to upholding the UK’s position at the forefront of international efforts to keep antibiotics effective for future generations and tackling antimicrobial resistance. UK poultry meat producers have stopped all preventative treatments and the highest priority antibiotics that are critically important for humans are used only as a ‘last resort’ for chickens and turkeys.

The sector is under the Government approved RUMA species-specific sector targets (25mg/pcu for chicken and 50 mg/pcu for turkeys) so our approach is working. Through more coordinated action between poultry farmers, veterinarians, producers as well as policy makers at local, regional, national and global levels, we will continue to preserve the efficacy of our antibiotics and contribute to turning the tide against antimicrobial resistance.”

Download Antibiotic Stewardship Report 2020.