Farmers to be commended for further reduction in antibiotic usage, says UFU

Wednesday, 30 October, 2019

The Ulster Farmers’ Union says farmers are to be commended for the work they are doing to reduce antibiotic usage and for hitting the 2020 industry target two years early.

The comments were made after the UFU attended the RUMA conference where Defra announced a 53 per cent reduction in antibiotic sales for food producing animals in the last four years.

UFU deputy president, David Brown said, “Farmers have really taken leadership and ownership of the challenge.  A 53 per cent reduction in antibiotic sales for food producing animals in just four years, bears testament to the excellent work by industry, the veterinary profession and government in antibiotic stewardship without the need for legislation.

“As an industry, we must tell people this good news story to help back local produce. However, we must not become complacent. We need to continue to show leadership and sustain this good work.”

The Defra report also highlighted that the use of high priority critically important antibiotics (HP-CIAs) to treat UK farm animals is less than 1 per cent of the total usage and overall there has been a 68 per cent reduction in HP-CIA usage since 2014.

“We are moving in the right direction. We are producing food to some of the highest animal health and environmental standards in the world. Farmers in the UK recognise the importance of these lifesaving antibiotics and are playing their part in the fight to curb antibiotic resistance. The onus is now on government to defend the UK’s high production standards and protect the industry from the threat of cheaper, lower standard food imports in any post Brexit trade deals,” said Mr Brown.