Antibiotic Awareness Day

The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) is delighted to support European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18 November.

RUMA Secretary General, John FitzGerald, said antibiotics are key medicines in both human and animal health. Responsible use of antibiotics in livestock helps to maintain animal health and welfare and provide safe food for the consumer. Antibiotics should not be used as a substitute for good farm management which helps prevent disease and reduce the need for medicines.

Antibiotic Awareness Day provides an ideal opportunity for everyone using antibiotics in agriculture to ensure they are doing so responsibly, which means “as little as possible and as much as necessary”, for example:

  • reducing the risk of disease challenge through
    • farm management, good ventilation, good nutrition, access to fresh water, hygiene
    • biosecurity
    • farm health planning
    • vaccination programmes
    • not using antibiotics as a substitute for good farm management
  • only using antibiotics prescribed by your vet and supplied by the vet or from an approved source under a veterinary prescription. Following prescription, if buying medicines over the internet, make sure the site is legitimate, such as those approved by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), or you could waste your money on a substance that does not work or worse could harm your animals
  • using the antibiotic in accordance with the instructions on the label and as instructed by your vet. It is vitally important to give the full dose for the whole treatment period to avoid increasing the risk of resistance
  • vets should prescribe antibiotics under the cascade only as a last resort
  • where there are older alternatives, vets should use susceptibility testing where practical and possible before prescribing modern antibiotics.


  1. RUMA is an alliance of 23 organisations representing every stage of the “farm to fork” process which aims to promote a co-ordinated and integrated approach to best practice in the use of medicines on farm. A full list of RUMA members is at paragraph 4 below. For further information contact RUMA Secretary General John FitzGerald (
  2. RUMA’s members are:
    • Agricultural Industries Confederation
    • Animal Health Distributors Association
    • Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority
    • BPEX and EBLEX
    • British Egg Industry Council
    • British Poultry Council
    • British Retail Consortium
    • British Veterinary Association
    • City and Guilds
    • DairyCo
    • Dairy UK
    • Game Farmers’ Association
    • LEAF
    • National Beef Association
    • National Farmers’ Union
    • National Office of Animal Health
    • National Pig Association
    • National Sheep Association
    • NFU Scotland
    • Red Tractor Assurance
    • Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers
    • RSPCA
    • Royal Pharmaceutical Society


    • Food Standards Agency
    • Veterinary Medicines Directorate