Archive for the ‘RUMA News’ Category

Response to publishing of antibiotic use data by retailers – December 2017

In response to the recent publishing of farm animal antibiotic usage data by several retailers, John FitzGerald, Secretary General of RUMA, says:

“We welcome the supportive approach many retailers have adopted with their farmers for a number of years over responsible use of antibiotics, and understand why some may wish to publish their own datasets. However, it remains important that the use of antibiotics in farm animals does not become a competitive issue. Above all, we must retain the ability to treat animals, or animal health and welfare will be compromised.

“The best way of achieving long term sustainable reductions while safeguarding animal health and welfare – as well as food safety – is through a collaborative, pre-competitive approach, where best practice is shared and farmers are supported. We are therefore pleased at the British Retail Consortium’s confirmation that UK retailers remain committed to working together to ensure sustained and consistent improvements.

“Collecting and collating robust data from on-farm records at an industry-wide level is the bigger prize. It is already happening in the poultry meat and pig sectors, and will be piloted in the cattle sectors next year through AHDB’s electronic Medicine Book system. We look forward to the insight this level of data collection will offer all of UK farming, and the opportunities it will create to build on the significant reductions in antibiotic use already achieved.”

New Secretary General for RUMA in New Year

Former AHDB Director of Knowledge Exchange Chris Lloyd has been announced as the successor to RUMA Secretary General John FitzGerald when he retires at the end of this year.

Chris takes over from John in the immediate wake of a significant breakthrough in responsible use of antibiotics in UK farming. This includes a record low in antibiotic sales to the farming industry and the publishing of a set of demanding targets to further reduce, refine or replace antibiotic use over the next three years.

John says he is pleased to have seen such significant progress in his last 18 months at the helm, and is handing over the reins at an exciting time.

“RUMA has transformed from more of an advisory organisation to really driving change across the main livestock sectors in terms of antibiotic use. I’m proud to have been involved at this critical time, and pleased to leave at a point when our farming industry has proved a leader in this antibiotic resistance debate.”

Chris, who succeeds John on 1 January 2018 after a month’s handover, has been immersed in the livestock sector throughout his career. He graduated from Writtle Agricultural College then spent 16 years working for the National Sheep Association holding various positions of influence at a technical and political level across the UK.

In 1999 he was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship to study the sheep industries of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Chris joined EBLEX in 2003 to deliver firstly the Sheep, then the Beef Better Returns Programme.

He latterly held other positions including Director for Knowledge Exchange across all AHDB sectors and more recently led AHDB activity on AMR across the three livestock sectors (Pork, Dairy and Beef & Lamb) before leaving the levy board in July this year.

Chris says he is looking forward to joining RUMA at time when its work is needed more than ever. “The challenge of AMR and the wider drive for responsible use of all medicines will be ever present for the livestock sectors over the next few years,” he says.

RUMA chair Gwyn Jones says John brought a valuable skill set to RUMA, and will be missed. “John’s former senior role at the Veterinary Medicines Directorate means he has a deep knowledge of the technical issues and was known to the key people in the industry.

“He has seen us through a transformative time and left RUMA in an immeasurably stronger position than when he joined six years ago. He will be deeply missed,” says Gwyn.

“However, we are looking forward to Chris joining and bringing a new outlook. The progress achieved over the past two years has been hard won, and the job is to now build on that as our challenges evolve. We have exciting times ahead.”

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