In response to a new report issued by Save Our Antibiotics entitled ‘Real farming solutions to antibiotic misuse’, RUMA chair Gwyn Jones said:
“We welcome any contribution to the debate about how we can reduce antibiotic use as part of a One Health approach, and will look closely at the ideas presented in the report.
“However, antibiotic use is not a factor of scale or system of farming, despite efforts to present it as such. Quoting selective evidence does not change this, nor the need for British food and farming to remain competitive, safe and high quality. Treating and preventing disease is also complex; this is why bans can be ineffective with unintended consequences for animal welfare.
“The success in the farming industry achieving a 27% reduction in antibiotic sales over two years and dramatic reductions in highest priority antibiotics is that it has happened with neither bans nor regulation. It has come from a supportive supply chain and regulator – the Veterinary Medicines Directorate – and commitment across the whole RUMA alliance from farm to fork.
“There’s lots more to do – not least improve data collection and sharing, and expand the collaborative, pre-competitive work of the retailers to the wider supply chain. But the fundamental change in focus we are seeing among vets and farmers is down to support and leadership, not sanctions.”