RUMA welcomes UK poultry meat sector’s sustained progress on responsible use of antibiotics

RUMA has welcomed the latest figures from the UK poultry meat sector which show it is sustaining and building on the progress it has made in the past six years to reduce, refine or replace antibiotic use on-farm. According to the British Poultry Council’s latest Antibiotic Stewardship Report, the sector’s focus on excellence in bird health and welfare is delivering responsible use of antibiotics and safeguarding the efficacy of antibiotics across the supply chain.

According to the new report, the British poultry meat sector’s focus on excellence in bird health and welfare has helped achieve:

  • 82% reduction in the total use of antibiotics in the last six years (2012-2017)
  • 91% reduction in the use of Fluoroquinolones (Critically Important Antibiotic for human health) in the last six years (2012-2017)
  • 36% reduction in the total use of antibiotics in the last year (2016-2017)

Since the stewardship scheme launched, the British poultry meat sector has:

  • Stopped prophylactic use of antibiotics
  • Stopped use of Colistin
  • Only uses Fluoroquinolones and Macrolides as a last resort
  • Banned the use of third and fourth generation Cephalosporins
  • Restricted the use of antibiotics classified as highest priority critically important by the WHO

These results mean that use of antibiotics in both chickens and turkeys is now below the Government-approved sector specific targets developed by RUMA’s Targets Task Force (TTF), which is 25mg/PCU for chickens and 50mg/PCU for turkeys.

RUMA also fully supports the point made by BPC chairman John Reed, that: “Zero use is neither ethical nor sustainable as it goes against farmers’ duty to alleviate pain and suffering.” He continues: ” Farmers and veterinarians need antibiotics in their toolbox to preserve the health and welfare of our birds. Responsible use of antibiotics is about so much more than reduction targets.”

To access the report and press release, please visit the BPC website.

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