RUMA and SfAM conference 2021

In July 2021 RUMA and SfAM (Society for Applied Microbiology) teamed up to develop and deliver an online conference entitled, ‘Responsible antibiotic use in animals – change is coming’, designed to share best practice on the responsible use of medicines, as well as infection prevention, control and the latest medical innovations.

The conference webinars featured representatives from across the livestock and companion animal industries and academia and focused on four key areas:

  • Companion animals
  • Aquaculture
  • Pig and poultry
  • Innovations in animal health

The sessions were specifically created to provide support and insight to farmers, agriculture workers, veterinary practices, the animal medicines industry, farm assurance professionals, consumers, animal welfare experts and microbiologists.

The webinars are now available to view for free here: SfAM | Responsible antibiotic use in animals: change is coming

RUMA Secretary General, Chris Lloyd said: “This was the first ever RUMA and SfAM collaboration and it was a huge success. It allowed both organisations to reach beyond our usual audience bases to highlight the UK’s AMR success journey to date and share the facts and insights that some audiences may not have been aware of. The sessions were very well attended and the live Q&A sessions at the end were highly engaging.”

Dr Paul Sainsbury, SfAM Director of Communications and Business Development, said: “This was one of the best conferences I have had the pleasure of being involved in. I think the right balance of information and engagement was achieved and I am looking forward to the next RUMA/SfAM event – hopefully!”

Overview of the sessions:

Companion animals

Companion animals play a huge role in people’s daily lives and naturally that means there is close contact with them in our homes. However, as we learn more, we realise they are able to acquire and exchange multidrug-resistant pathogens with humans and may serve as a potential source of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) for owners. The RUMA Companion Animal and Equine group has been established to encourage and promote the responsible use of medicines, and in particular antibiotics.


The capability to manage aquaculture health issues has increased tremendously in the last few years. However, the rapid growth and development of the aquaculture sector continues to generate new challenges. The use of medicines by the sector brings many challenges as we seek to treat fish effectively but with minimal impact on the environment.

Pig & Poultry

Antibiotic use was an issue of focus in both these sectors before RUMA and the relevant sector stakeholder organisations established voluntary rules and targets to ensure their effective and responsible use. This voluntary approach is now heralded as a template for responsible use of medicines in livestock.

Innovations in animal health

Equipping farmers and vets with the necessary tools and solutions to keep farm animals in good health ensures more sustainable and efficient farming practices. Innovations such as rapid diagnostics for early detection and new therapeutics for treating infections, will support prompt and targeted animal health management and contribute to preventing disease and when necessary, treating infections.