Cat McLaughlin, Chair of The Responsible use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance says:
“RUMA would emphasise that there has been an ongoing reduction in antibiotic use in the pig industry, and that the sector continues to encourage the responsible use of antibiotics based on the principle of as little as possible, but as much as necessary.
“Recently released figures from the national pig antibiotic database, eMB, which enables usage to be tracked over time, shows that the amount of antibiotic used to treat pigs on UK farms in 2021 stood at 87mg/PCU, compared with 105mg/PCU in 2020 which is a 17% reduction. This brings the total reduction since 2015 to 69%.
“In addition, use of the highest priority critically important antibiotics (HP-CIA) which are important for use in human medicine remains at a very low level, with a slight decrease from 0.05mg/PCU to 0.03mg/PCU recorded in 2021. No Colistin use was reported in pigs in 2021.
Overall in agriculture, the use of HP CIA’s represents less than 1% of all antibiotics used.
“UK agriculture is committed to the responsible use of antibiotics. Ensuring animal welfare is a priority, alongside achieving appropriate and sustainable reductions is key. To put the UK’s use of antibiotics into context, UK sales of antibiotics to treat food producing animals have halved since 2014 and now account for less than 30% of the antibiotics used in the UK, despite over a billion farm animals being reared and managed in the UK every year.
“It is fair to say that antibiotic stewardship is now part of everyday language across UK agriculture, and we are leading the way in achieving significant reductions, as can be seen in the results to date.”