RUMA is pleased to see recognition for the hugely positive and voluntary achievements of UK agriculture in tackling AMR which have been praised in a joint report released today by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and the UK’s Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).
RUMA was established to promote the highest standards of food safety, animal health and animal welfare in the British livestock industry. Collaborative industry efforts have helped to halve sales of antibiotics to treat UK farm animals and has seen the use of Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics (HP-CIAs) in animals reduce by 79% since 2014.
In response to this Report, RUMA Chair, Cat McLaughlin says: “We are happy to see recognition for the efforts of UK agriculture in uniting to tackle AMR; in particular, the unique voluntary approach which has seen the agriculture industry taking ownership and working in collaboration with government to drive positive change. The UK government set strong national reduction targets in its AMR strategy. It challenged the livestock industry to reduce antibiotic use by 25% between 2016 and 2020 – which we surpassed.
“The report recognises a number of successes including the establishment of the RUMA Independent Scientific Group (ISG) which ensures all decisions and activities are based on science and evidence, as well as the formation of the RUMA Targets Task Force (TTF) which has a specialist farmer and vet representing each livestock sector, to set targets and provide a forum for learning and experience to be shared across all sectors. This demonstrates the industry’s ongoing support to the responsible use of antibiotics and has put the UK ahead of most EU countries. The current targets up to 2024 further reinforce the ongoing commitment across all the sectors to achieve sustainable reductions.”
The Targets Task Force (TTF) group was conceived in Spring 2016 in response to Lord Jim O’Neill’s seminal Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Review . The report, commissioned by the UK government in 2014 to assess the global problem of increasing drug resistance, put forward a number of actions to address the issue, one of which was to develop industry-led, sector-specific targets for antibiotic stewardship in UK livestock farming.
The goal of the TTF has been to respond directly to that report and recommendations, and to identify realistic, evidence-based goals for the UK agriculture industry. Benchmarks are set and owned by each of the sectors with recognition that each sector has individual challenges and that reductions should be sustainable.
Cat adds: “The RUMA Targets Task Force has shown clearly that where we have data, we can set targets and we can hit them. The UK’s overall approach has led to significant behaviour change and a shift in attitudes across the industry. Antibiotic stewardship is now part of everyday language, with farmers and vets working collaboratively to embed best practice for responsible use across all sectors.
“The first-hand accounts that feature in the FAO report from key sector stakeholders involved in the process, highlight the approaches and steps taken which are unique to each sector, their challenges and successes, and ultimately the shared experience and knowledge they have gained along the way.”
For more details and to read the full report visit: Antimicrobial Resistance FAO