Archive for the ‘RUMA News’ Category

Response to new report from campaign group Save Our Antibiotics

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.”


Letter to The Times in response to article on 8 November

To the editor: Contrary to the impression given in the headline “Farmers reject WHO plea…” (8 November), we absolutely support global efforts to curb antibiotics.  UK food and farming has achieved rapid and significant reductions in use of antibiotics to treat and prevent animal disease – in fact a 27% fall in two years. Those of the highest priority to human health now form less than 1% of total use and are subject to clear restrictions by veterinary organisations.

What we cannot endorse are outright bans. The WHO guidelines themselves accept that in the interests of animal welfare, veterinary medicine should retain access to highest priority antibiotics in cases of last resort. And while we do not support routine preventative use of antibiotics, preventative use may occasionally be required – as in humans – before disease is diagnosed, for example after a very difficult birth.

Gwyn Jones, Chair, Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance

RUMA response to publication of new WHO guidelines 7 November

In response to the publication today of the WHO Guidelines on Use of Medically Important Antimicrobials in Food-Producing Animals, Gwyn Jones, RUMA chairman, says:

“The guidelines are largely consistent with UK farming’s direction of travel. A clear strategy in the UK has produced rapid reductions of 27% in sales of antibiotics for food-producing animals within two years and significant falls in sales of highest priority antibiotics, meaning a major government target has been exceeded two years early. A new and demanding set of targets for each of the key livestock sectors will ensure momentum continues.

“But the WHO Guidelines also expose some important differences between the global and the European – and specifically the UK – position. For example: antibiotics are controlled by prescription in the UK and use for growth promotion was banned over 10 years ago; UK government and RUMA follow the European Medicines Agency – not WHO – guidelines on CIA definitions because they identify the degree of risk to human health should antimicrobial resistance develop after use in animals; and the UK, with its high regard for animal welfare, observes a ‘One Health’ approach focused on the best outcomes for people, animals, and the environment.

“We know some practices in veterinary medicine, as in human medicine, cannot continue. But we also recognise that time, investment and support are needed to make long-term sustainable changes without harming animal welfare. This means the WHO guidelines, especially based on what the WHO admits is low or very low quality evidence, are neither compatible with the UK farming industry’s priorities, nor necessary given recent progress.”

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