New RUMA Cattle Antibiotic Guideline Released

The RUMA (The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture) Alliance has released revised comprehensive guidelines on the “Responsible use of antimicrobials in dairy and beef cattle production.” Launched at the Dairy Event in Stoneleigh, they update the original long RUMA cattle guidelines, published in 2000. Put together by a group of dairy and beef experts, including veterinary specialists, the revision of long guidelines follows the update of the short guidelines last year, but whereas these were aimed at farmers, the long version is specifically aimed at those advising dairy farmers, especially veterinary surgeons.

The guidelines are available on the RUMA website and can be downloaded free of charge.

Introducing the new guidelines, RUMA’s Chairman Peter Allen, MBE, said: “I am both pleased and proud to launch these new guidelines at the Dairy Event. I do not need to tell anyone here of the economic problems besetting both dairy and beef farmers. In these straightened times it is even more important that ever that all medicines are only used when required and then at the correct dose and for the right number of treatments. It is only by doing this that you will get the maximum benefit from antimicrobials as well as having the most effective economic benefit and also make it less likely that antimicrobial resistance will build up”.

John Sumner, Independent Dairy Consultant, and main author of the guidelines, said: “Just a year ago, at this event, we launched a short practical version of these guidelines which were primarily intended for farmers. The guidelines launched today are a comprehensive guide to the effective and safe use of antimicrobials in cattle. They are directed at the whole of the industry, with the main aim of communicating practical strategies by which the need for use of antimicrobials might be reduced, but without adversely affecting animal welfare or the viability of a farmer’s business. The cattle industry recognises that human health must be an overriding consideration when using antimicrobials, but, if animal welfare is to be assured, sometimes using an antimicrobial is the only right course of action. The launch of these guidelines today is an example of the industry taking responsibility for its own actions.”

Matt Dodds, Chairman of the Health Planning group of the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) Council also emphasised the importance of the guidelines in assisting cattle practitioners to ensure that farmers use medicines correctly. “In today’s economic environment planning for a healthy herd is an important part of running a profitable farm. The new RUMA guidlines provide invaluable advice for busy farm vets, ensuring they follow best practice and have the latest medicines recommendations to hand when developing health plans in conjunction with their clients”, he said.


  1. For further information contact Dr Tony Andrews at RUMA on 01438 717900, or email
  2. RUMA (The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance) was set up in November 1997 to promote the highest standards of food safety, animal health and animal welfare in British livestock farming. It launched the original cattle guidelines in June 2000. Since that time the guidelines have been used as part of farm assurance schemes. There are other guidelines for the responsible use of antimicrobials in pigs, poultry, sheep and fish.
  3. RUMA is a non governmental non profit making organisation which includes members at all stages of food production chain. Amongst its aims is “To establish and communicate guidelines which describe “best practice” in the use of medicines.”