RUMA Welcomes the CMO’s Warning About the Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance

RUMA is in full agreement with Professor Dame Sally Davies’ warning about the threat of antimicrobial resistance which is a serious problem that threatens the efficacy of antibiotics used in both human and animal medicine.

Professor Dame Sally, England’s Chief Medical Officer, said “global action is needed to tackle the catastrophic threat of antimicrobial resistance, which in 20 years could see any one of us dying following minor surgery”. The Department of Health is about to launch the five-year UK Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy and Action Plan which will champion responsible use of antimicrobials.

RUMA Secretary General John FitzGerald welcomed Professor Dame Sally’s statement. He said that agriculture had to play its part in protecting the continued efficacy of these important medicines for use in both humans and animals. Resistance is a complex issue and RUMA acknowledges the risk that it can transfer from animals to man and vice versa. As the CMO’s report says the current evidence suggests that the use of antimicrobials in animals is not a major cause of resistance in bacteria that affect human health (at least in the UK). RUMA supports Professor Dame Sally’s view that our approach to tackling the problem of antimicrobial resistance must bring together experts in human and animal health to develop joint and complementary initiatives in this field.

Although the risk of resistance transferring from animals to humans is small RUMA believes it is important for farmers and vets to work together to use antimicrobials responsibly on farm. This means firstly reducing the risk of disease by good farm management and then, where prescribed by a vet, using antimicrobials responsibly at the right dose and for the full course of treatment.


  1. RUMA is an alliance of organisations representing every stage of the “farm to fork” process which aims to promote a co-ordinated and integrated approach to best practice in the use of medicines on farm. A full list of RUMA members is at paragraph 4 below. For further information contact RUMA Secretary General John FitzGerald ( or see the RUMA website
  2. Professor Dame Sally’s statement can be found at
  3. RUMA’s members are:
    • Agricultural Industries Confederation
    • Animal Health Distributors Association
    • Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority
    • BPEX and EBLEX
    • British Egg Industry Council
    • British Poultry Council
    • British Retail Consortium
    • British Veterinary Association
    • City and Guilds
    • DairyCo
    • Dairy UK
    • Game Farmers’ Association
    • LEAF
    • National Beef Association
    • National Farmers’ Union
    • National Office of Animal Health
    • National Pig Association
    • National Sheep Association
    • NFU Scotland
    • Red Tractor Assurance
    • Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers
    • RSPCA
    • Royal Pharmaceutical Society


    • Food Standards Agency
    • Veterinary Medicines Directorate