Archive for the ‘RUMA News’ Category

Last call for Early Bird tickets for RUMA conference

With the final programme for RUMA’s third biennial conference on 29 October now published, it has been confirmed that early bird ticket sales at the discounted rate of £175 will close at midnight 30 September. From 1 October, tickets will revert to the full £200 price.

Using the theme ‘Building on Success’, the conference will examine whether recent progress in stewarding antibiotics can be maintained, and what needs to be done to better support global efforts to battle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The role of media and public opinion in achieving positive change will also be discussed, and whether UK farming’s animal health and welfare and food safety are robust enough to take advantage of opportunities as well as address upcoming market challenges.

Headlining the event will be American journalist and author on public and global health and food policy Maryn McKenna, who will be dissecting the role of the public and media in driving change in medicine stewardship.

A senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory University, Ms McKenna is the author of the books Big Chicken (published in the UK under the title Plucked), Superbug, and Beating Back the Devil. She is a columnist for WIRED and a journalist for magazines including National Geographic, The New Republic and the New York Times, and her work critically examines antibiotic use in agriculture.

The Food Standards Agency will be represented at a RUMA conference for the first time, with its chair Heather Hancock opening proceedings by outlining the regulator’s vision for safe, healthy food built on farm systems which are modern, productive and demonstrate responsible use of medicines.

As at the last conference, the latest antibiotic sales data for farm animals are expected to be released by the Veterinary Medicine Directorate’s (VMD) head of Antimicrobial Resistance Dr Kitty Healey; she will also provide recent surveillance findings for antibiotic-resistance genes within farm animals and their food products, and will discuss how the industry can maintain progress and lead the world in responsible use.

While antibiotic use and AMR remain key themes in the event, broader aspects of farm animal health and welfare, emerging resistance in other pathogens and wider challenges presented by disease will be debated. Behaviour change among farmers and their veterinary surgeons, and the economic and reputational opportunities of better health and food safety will be covered as part of this.

To provide insight in these areas, the following have also been confirmed as speakers:

  • Stuart Roberts, NFU
  • Dr Shabbir Simjee, RUMA Independent Scientific Group
  • Duncan Sinclair, British Retail Consortium
  • Aarti Ramachandran, FAIRR
  • Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, Moredun Research Institute.
  • Dr Simon Doherty, British Veterinary Association

Dr Christine Middlemiss, the chief veterinary officer, will be concluding the event with a summary of the learnings from the day and a call to action for the next two years.

Tickets for the RUMA conference can be purchased via Eventbrite, with places limited. Please click on this link for the RUMA Conference Programme 2019 FINAL.

 

British poultry maintains low antibiotic use in 2018

RUMA has welcomed the publishing of 2018 antibiotic usage data collected through the British Poultry Stewardship programme. Despite increased disease challenges during 2018, the British poultry meat industry was able to maintain antibiotic use at low levels with just 12mg/kg required in the broiler meat sector, 47mg/kg used for turkeys and less than 2mg/kg for ducks.

Overall this meant that the amount of antibiotics used by the industry increased slightly from 14.4 tonnes to 16.2 tonnes, nonetheless representing an 80% reduction in total use since 2012, and an 83% reduction in use of highest-priority critically-important antibiotics.

Gwyn Jones, chairman of RUMA, said that the UK poultry meat industry was continuing to show leadership in antibiotics stewardship by maintaining low usage levels in a difficult year. “The challenge for all sectors will be as they reach their ‘terminal low’ in use. At this point, it is about responsibly maintaining low levels of use without compromising health and welfare or food safety in the face of emerging external challenges and disease.”

The report can be downloaded from the British Poultry Council website at https://www.britishpoultry.org.uk/bpc-antibiotics-report-2019/

Farm medicine stewardship efforts join up across the UK

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) are the latest organisations to join the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance, strengthening the farming industry’s ability to apply clear, consistent standards of farm medicine stewardship, and particularly of antibiotics, across the whole UK.

RUMA chairman Gwyn Jones says the involvement in RUMA of the two meat assurance organisations – alongside that of existing members the National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) and the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) – strengthens the UK’s cohesive and voluntary approach to antibiotic stewardship which has helped to deliver overall reductions of 40% in farm antibiotic sales so far.

Mr Jones explains: “While HCC, QMS, NFUS and UFU have been actively involved in welfare and antibiotic stewardship groups for some time, being part of RUMA will ensure greater future alignment.

“RUMA now has deep representation in all parts of the UK, at all stages of the supply chain and in every main livestock sector, which will be essential in delivering the RUMA Targets Task Force 2020 targets for antibiotic use. In turn, meeting these will help towards achieving the UK Government’s 5-year action plan on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the supporting measures already in place in Scotland and recently announced in both Wales and Northern Ireland.

“I can’t emphasise enough the benefits of UK farm and veterinary groups continuing to take ownership of their part of the challenge of antimicrobial resistance. That we can do it with clarity and mutual support makes our efforts all the more effective.”

The UK’s voluntary approach to stewardship, working in collaboration with the UK Governments, has attracted interest from other countries; the EU’s Directorate General for Animal Health DG Sante visited in 2018 on a fact-finding mission.

Mr Jones says: “The voluntary approach, which has led to the 40% reduction in farm antibiotic sales over the past five years without the need for legislative change, is making progress sustainable and cost-effective. We must stay focused to ensure that we deliver what has been promised and reduce any impact UK food and farming might have on the overall burden of antimicrobial resistance now and in the future.”

Sheep and cattle make progress on antibiotic-use ‘metrics’

A new standardised way to measure the amount of antibiotics used on-farm have been announced by the Sheep Antibiotic Guardian Group (SAGG), a sub-group of the Sheep Health and Welfare Group (SHAWG). SAGG has worked closely with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, academics and vets to identify these measures, and is now urging all those who work in the sheep sector to support farmers in capturing the information. The document outlining the measures and how they should be recorded sits alongside new guidelines on responsible use of antibiotics in the sheep sector. More information at www.shawg.org.uk.

The cattle sectors are also moving forward in this area, with the Cattle Health and Welfare Group (CHAWG) releasing metrics for the dairy sector at the end of last year. Measuring use on beef farms in more complex, and so the beef sector has just released a consultation to determine which measures will be the most appropriate and practical. It is hoping all those who work in the beef sector, whether farmers and vets or suppliers and supply chain, will respond by the 23 August deadline. More information and support materials at www.chawg.org.uk.

 

Specialist in zoonotic disease joins scientific group

Nicola Williams, Professor in Zoonotic Bacterial Disease at the University of Liverpool, is the latest expertto join an independent scientific group which advises on the responsible use of medicines in UK farm animals. She will sit alongside other eminent scientists from veterinary, medical and microbiological fields, providing insight to inform the policies developed by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance.

Professor Williams is a microbiologist with over 17 years’ experience in conducting applied research, primarily on bacterial zoonoses and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Her research interests include reservoirs and transmission of food-borne pathogens, transfer and maintenance of antimicrobial resistance, antimicrobial prescribing practice, and the epidemiology of AMR bacteria in wildlife, livestock and pets.

Speaking of her appointment, Professor Williams said: “I am delighted to join this unique group and have the chance to apply my learnings at the ‘coalface’ of changes to animal medicine stewardship in the UK.

“I’m particularly interested in how some areas of current research could add to the knowledge base of this scientific group – for example, work I’m now doing in the UK exploring what drives veterinary prescribing behaviour so we can understand how change can be implemented.

“Other relevant studies concern the characterising of relationships and transmission of pathogenic bacteria between different reservoirs, including humans, livestock and the food chain, and the wider environment.

“We are seeing a far stronger focus on AMR in the environment now emerging, so I hope that adding my knowledge in this area to the scientific group will help RUMA to identify what guidance it should be delivering onwards to the farming industry and in veterinary clinical environments,” Professor Williams added.

Catherine McLaughlin, chair of the Independent Scientific Group, has welcomed the addition of Professor Williams to the team, saying her broad global and inter-disciplinary experience will add valuable breadth to the team.

Ms McLaughlin said: “Professor Williams’ experience in the transmission of antibiotic resistance genes among not just farm animals but pets and wildlife within a range of environments will be extremely valuable.

“One Health really does mean considering all these areas together, so we can ensure the most sustainable and effective approach to stewardship and reducing resistance can be taken.”

RUMA’s Independent Scientific Group, now comprises (alphabetically):

  • Professor David Barrett, Professor of Bovine Medicine, Production and Reproduction at University of Bristol (deputised by Dr Kristen Reyher, Reader in Veterinary Epidemiology and Population Health at University of Bristol)
  • Dr Ian Brown, Consultant Clinical Research Fellow at Oxford University and Oxford University Hospitals and Chairman of the Government’s Advisory Committee on Animal Feedstuffs
  • Professor Mark Fielder, Professor of Medical Microbiology at Kingston University
  • Professor Nigel Gibbens, former Chief Veterinary Officer, and consultant with Itinerant Vets Ltd
  • Mr Daniel Parker, avian expert for UK government, technical advisor to the British Poultry Council and lecturer at Cambridge University Veterinary School
  • Professor Sharon Peacock, Professor of Clinical Microbiology at LSHTM
  • Dr Shabbir Simjee, Chief Medical Officer, Elanco Animal Health
  • Mr Martin Smith, Lead Veterinary Surgeon, British Quality Pigs
  • Professor Nicola Williams, Professor in Zoonotic Bacterial Disease, University of Liverpool

Since 2014, the UK livestock farming industry has reduced use of antibiotics by 40% and is currently working on reaching a number of sector-specific targets for reducing, refining or replacing antibiotic use by 2020.

RUMA welcomes farming industry wins at 2019 Antibiotic Guardian awards

A record number of entries for the Animal Health, Agriculture and Food Supply category in the 2019 Antibiotic Guardian Awards culminated in Kite Consulting and its industry partners walking away as the winner for their achievements gathering and benchmarking antibiotic usage data on UK dairy farms. ForFarmers was highly commended and Pruex was commended.

There was another win for the farming industry in the Research category, with the University of Bristol awarded joint winner for Lisa Morgans’ PhD project working on behaviour change with a group of dairy farmers from the South West of England.

RUMA chairman Gywn Jones congratulated the winners, saying the awards ceremony illustrated the truly ‘One Health’ approach that was emerging in the UK.

“Having Christine Middlemiss, the Chief Veterinary Officer, as the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony emphasises we are truly facing a One Health Challenge, and I hope that the excellent performance of the UK farming industry among the finalists shows how seriously we are taking this problem,” he said.

RUMA welcomes further fall in UK pig sector’s antibiotic use

The latest antibiotic usage data for the UK pig sector has been announced today (30 May) by AHDB, showing further reductions throughout 2018 to 110 mg/kg (2017: 131 mg/kg) alongside another fall in use of highest-priority critically important antibiotics (HP-CIAs) to 0.06 mg/kg (2017: 0.1 mg/kg). Colistin use remains at negligible levels.

This means the sector stays on target to reach its goal of 99 mg/kg by 2020, as laid out in the Targets Task Force report.

A RUMA spokesperson said: “We welcome the news from AHDB of continuing reductions in both total and highest priority antibiotic use in the UK pig sector, and congratulate all involved in this considerable achievement.

“Reductions and refinements in antibiotic use are always going to get progressively tougher the lower we get, so it’s very positive news that change is being achieved sustainably with attention to both pig health and welfare, and food safety.”

Data for 2017 use can be found in the 2017 VARSS report from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

Farm medicines conference line-up to include leading U.S. investigative journalist

Some of the farming industry’s biggest challengers have been announced as speakers at this year’s Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) conference, to be held on 29 October at the Sainsbury’s Conference Centre in Holborn, London.

Using the theme ‘Building on Success’, the conference will examine whether recent progress in stewarding antibiotics can be maintained, and what needs to be done to better support global efforts to battle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The role of media and public opinion in achieving positive change will also be discussed, and whether UK farming’s animal health and welfare and food safety are robust enough to take advantage of opportunities as well as address upcoming market challenges.

Headlining the event will be American journalist and author on public and global health and food policy Maryn McKenna, who will be dissecting the role of the public and media in driving change in medicine stewardship.

A senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory University, Ms McKenna is the author of the books Big Chicken (published in the UK under the title Plucked), Superbug, and Beating Back the Devil. She is a columnist for WIRED and a journalist for magazines including National Geographic, The New Republic and the New York Times, and her work critically examines antibiotic use in agriculture.

The Food Standards Agency will be represented at a RUMA conference for the first time, with its chair Heather Hancock opening proceedings by outlining the regulator’s vision for safe, healthy food built on farm systems which are modern, productive and demonstrate responsible use of medicines.

As at the last conference, the latest antibiotic sales data for farm animals are expected to be released by the Veterinary Medicine Directorate’s (VMD) head of Antimicrobial Resistance Dr Kitty Healey; she will also provide recent surveillance findings for antibiotic-resistance genes within farm animals and their food products, and will discuss how the industry can maintain progress and lead the world in responsible use.

While antibiotic use and AMR remain key themes in the event, broader aspects of farm animal health and welfare, emerging resistance in other pathogens and wider challenges presented by disease will be debated. Behaviour change among farmers and their veterinary surgeons, and the economic and reputational opportunities of better health and food safety will be covered as part of this.

To provide insight in these areas, the following have also been confirmed as speakers:

  • Stuart Roberts, NFU
  • Dr Shabbir Simjee, RUMA Independent Scientific Group
  • Duncan Sinclair, British Retail Consortium
  • Sue Lockhart, Red Tractor
  • Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, Moredun Research Institute.
  • Dr Simon Doherty, British Veterinary Association

Dr Christine Middlemiss, the chief veterinary officer, will be concluding the event with a summary of the learnings from the day and a call to action for the next two years.

Tickets for the RUMA conference are now available on Eventbrite, with places limited. Please click on the following link to download the 2019 RUMA Conference Draft Programme PROVISIONAL

 

Response to BBC Countryfile story on ionophores

The BBC’s misrepresentation of ionophore coccidiostats in the media on 31 March 2019 is disappointing, not least because of the important and entirely legitimate role coccidiostats play in protecting animals at risk of infection from coccidian protozoa parasites. Before ionophores are legally marketed for commercial use in food-producing animals, companies have to demonstrate to the regulator (EFSA) that each product is safe and effective in the target animal species, safe for humans consuming edible products from treated animals, and safe for the environment.

(more…)

Auctioneers and dairy beef businesses support 2019 #ColostrumIsGold

The Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA) and two of the UK’s biggest integrated beef rearing businesses, ABP Blade Farming and Meadow Quality, have announced their support for RUMA’s #ColostrumIsGold campaign, which launches today (1 February).

It is hoped that by promoting messages through their supply chains, at auction marts and in remittances, the three organisations will be able to encourage more dairy farmers especially – as well as beef and sheep farmers – to understand the benefits of getting colostrum management right in the first few hours of life.

Cattle veterinary surgeon Tim Potter from Westpoint, who works with farms that rear calves for ABP Blade Farming, says: “Born without an immune system, newborn animals need to take antibodies on board through their mothers’ colostrum. But with their stomachs only able to absorb these antibodies for a short period, it’s estimated that 95% of dairy farms don’t manage to give that all-important feed within the ideal two-hour timeframe after birth.”

He says a combination of this and poor quality colostrum means that less than a third of calves currently receive sufficient immunity, and the whole supply chain is losing out as a result. “We have a great opportunity here to reduce the need for antibiotic treatments through improved health and immunity, but also to increase daily liveweight gain and reach service or finishing weights quicker.”

Matt Nightingale of Meadow Quality says that the dairy sector in particular has huge productivity gains to make by addressing an issue that most often just needs time and patience.

“The difference good colostrum management makes is startling. Calves that have had the right quantity of the right quality colostrum quickly enough are far more productive animals,” he explains.

“They put on weight better and have a far lower incidence of diseases such as scour or pneumonia. They also handle stress periods such as arrival on the farm and weaning far better, and that’s a big win for rearers and the dairy beef sector as a whole.”

Chris Dodds of the LAA is hoping his members can help get the message out through the posters and hand out leaflets in their 110 marts around England and Wales.

“Giving calves the best start means they have better, healthier lives and they create more income in the enterprise, whether they are for breeding or for meat. That’s why we’ll be encouraging our members to raise this issue with dairy and beef farmers, but also with sheep farmers as this issue very much affects lambs as well,” he explains.

The #ColostrumIsGold campaign will run throughout February and into March. This is the second time the campaign has run following its successful launch last year when it was widely adopted by the sheep sector, achieved a reach of almost a million over Twitter and won the communications category at Public Health England’s Antibiotic Guardian Awards.

A wide range of advice including technical guides and videos is available on the website www.colostrumisgold.org to support farmers and veterinary surgeons looking to review or improve practices.

People are also encouraged to share hints, tips and experiences via Twitter and through the website using the hashtag #ColostrumIsGold. A prize draw offering a range of products to suit beef, dairy, pig and sheep farmers will be held at the end of February and anyone posting or tweeting during February using the hashtag will be automatically entered.  More information at www.colostrumisgold.org.

Please go to www.colostrumisgold.org for information, resources and prize rules.

Prize draw

The prize draw is offering the following prizes, subject to Terms and Conditions:

  • 1 x Udderly EZ ewe colostrum hand milker (RRP £170) – kindly donated by Udderly EZ
  • 1 x Store&Thaw Colostrum management kit worth (RRP £148) – kindly donated by Pyon products pyonproducts.com
  • 3 x places on an Animal Medicines Best Practice training course (RRP £71 each – winner selects option for beef, dairy, pig or sheep), developed by NOAH and run by Lantra – kindly donated by ABP Food Group (abpfoodgroup.com), Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (www.rabdf.co.uk) and NOAH www.noah.co.uk/farmer-training (three separate prizes, one place per winner, includes course only and not travel or accommodation)
  • 1 x Colostrum Refractometer (RRP £25) – kindly donated by Pyon products pyonproducts.com
  • 10 x 10% off vouchers for either the Store&Thaw management kit (RRP £148) or the Thawing Tank with Heater stirrer unit (RRP £925) – kindly donated by Pyon products pyonproducts.com (10 separate prizes)

Calf colostrum facts

Research has shown that calves with low antibody levels are more likely to become ill or to die before weaning. Conversely, higher concentrations at 1-2 days of age are linked to better health, lower mortality and higher daily liveweight gain, with animals reaching target weights more quickly:

  • Calves with low antibody levels were 1.6x more likely to become ill and 2.7x more likely to die before weaning. Higher antibody concentrations were linked to better health, lower mortality and higher liveweight gain; at 205 days, calves were on average 3.5kg heavier [1]
  • Calves with high antibody levels from colostrum reached target first service weights sooner [2]
  • Antibody concentration in the calf at 1-2 days old significantly affected average daily weight gain through to 6 months of age [3]
  • Calves fed sufficient colostrum quickly enough more than halved their risk of pneumonia [4]
  • Brown Swiss heifer calves given 2 or 4 litres of colostrum at birth were monitored for two lactations after calving. Those given 4 litres showed a 30% increase in pre-pubertal growth rate, a 16% increase in survival to the end of the second lactation and 1,026kg more milk production over those given 2 litres[5]
  • Antibodies from colostrum helped protect calves from death and poor performance from septicaemia and pneumonia, with effects lasting up to 6 months of age[6]
  • Calves with good colostrum status were a third less likely to die and half as likely to become ill[7]

Sheep facts

  • Lambs fed adequate quality colostrum at birth do not succumb to Watery Mouth[8]
  • A large number of lambs born in the UK currently receive oral antibiotics as protection:
    • Oral antibiotics were prescribed to 49% of flocks covering approximately 64% of predicted lamb crop (NB: a very small % of total antibiotic usage on sheep farms)[9]
    • A veterinary student survey on farms of housed sheep at lambing time suggested 68% of sheep farms used prophylactic oral antibiotics in neonatal lambs[10]
    • A questionnaire survey of sheep farmers supplying lambs deadweight suggested that 26% of farms gave prophylactic oral antibiotic to all neonatal lambs born on farm[5]
  • There is no significant difference in the productivity levels between flocks using prophylactic antibiotic for neonatal lambs and those that used none[11]
  • 50% of neonatal lamb E coli are resistant to spectinomycin (most common Watery Mouth treatment)[12]

Pigs facts

  • Higher colostrum intake (200ml) improves the survival rate up to weaning[13]
  • Colostrum intake above 290ml per pig at birth has led to 6-week weights being 2kg heavier[14]
  • The smaller the interval between birth and first suckle, the lower the levels of pre-weaning mortality[8]

 

  1. Dewell, R.D. et al (2006). Association of neonatal serum immunoglobulin G1 concentration with health and performance in beef calves. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 228:914–921
  2. Furman-Fratczak, K. et al (2011) The influence of colostral immunoglobulin concentration in heifer calves’ serum on their health and growth. J. Dairy Sci. 94:5536–5543
  3. Robison, J.D. et al (1988). Effects of passive immunity on growth and survival in the dairy heifer. J. Dairy Sci. 71:1283–1287.
  4. Virtala, A.M. et al (1999) The effect of maternally derived immunoglobulin G on the risk of respiratory disease in heifers during the first 3 months of life. Preventative Veterinary Medicine 39
  5. Faber, S. N. et al (2005). Case Study: Effects of colostrum ingestion on lactational performance. Prof. Anim. Scientist 21:420-425
  6. Donovan, D.A. et al (1997). Associations between passive immunity and morbidity and mortality in dairy heifers in Florida, USA. Preventative Veterinary Medicine 34 (1998) 31-46
  7. Blowey, R.W., (1986). A Veterinary Book for Dairy Farmers. Farming Press Ltd
  8. Lovatt, F., Duncan, J. and Hinde, D. (2019) Responsible Use of Antibiotics on Sheep Farms. In Practice Vol 41–1
  9. Davies, P., Remnant, J.G., Green, M.J., Gascoigne, E., Gibbon, N., Hyde, R., Porteous, J.R., Schubert, K., Lovatt, F. and Corbishley, A.(2017) Quantitative analysis of antibiotic usage in British sheep flocks Veterinary Record 181, 511
  10. Douglas, F., and Sargison, N.D. (2018) Husbandry procedures at the point of lambing with reference to perinatal lamb mortality. Veterinary Record vol. 182, no. 2, p. 52
  11. Lima, E., Lovatt, F., Davies, P. and Kaler, J. (in press). Using abattoir sales data to investigate associations between implementations of disease preventative practices and sheep flock performance
  12. VARSS 2016. (2017). Veterinary Medicines Directorate
  13. Moreira, L.P., Menegat M.B., Barros, G.P., Bernardi, M.L., Wentz, I., and Bortolozzo, F.P. (2017) Effects of colostrum, and protein and energy supplementation on survival and performance of low-birth-weight piglets. Livest. Sci. 202, 188–193
  14. Devillers N., Le Dividich, J. and Prunier, A. (2011). Influence of colostrum intake on piglet survival and immunity. Animal Aug;5(10):1605-12
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