Response to article in The Guardian 27 September 2018

In response to “UK could use Brexit to avoid EU ban on antibiotics overuse in farming” (27 Sep, The Guardian):

As The Guardian will be aware from recent reports into antibiotic sales and use in the UK farming industry, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), as regulator, made it clear in its 2013 5-Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy that action needed to be taken to eliminate unnecessary antibiotic use in livestock, and the industry has responded.

Antibiotic sales for farm animals fell by 27% between 2014 and 2016 to reach a record low, and were shown to be 60% below the EU average in 2015. Sales of colistin – an antibiotic of last resort in human medicine – reduced to 2% of the EU recommended maximum in farm animals in 2016, and use of other highest priority antibiotics has been severely restricted by veterinary surgeons and through Red Tractor assurance to ‘last resort to prevent animal suffering’. As a result, sales are also falling dramatically in these. We are optimistic that further reductions will be reported late October when sales data for 2017 is released, and future reductions, refinements or replacements are already being actioned in each sector thanks to the specific targets identified by industry last year and endorsed by the VMD.

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