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Home Industry News UK antibiotic use in animals drops in line with government targets

UK antibiotic use in animals drops in line with government targets

17th November 2016

The UK is on track to meet its targets for reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics in animals, according to new government data.

Figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs show that overall sales by weight of antibiotic products for animals dropped by nine percent from 2014 to 2015, while sales for use in food-producing animals dropped ten percent from 62 mg per kg to 56mg per kg.

This continues a ten-year downward trend and puts the UK on track to reach its 50 mg per kg target by 2018. A drop in sales of the highest priority antibiotics that are critically important for humans was also seen, with these products comprising just over one percent of all antibiotics sold for use in animals last year.

The reduction comes against the backdrop of widespread efforts to cut antibiotic use across the country. The meat poultry industry, for example, almost halved its use of critically important antibiotics from 2012 to 2015 by improving training, stewardship, stockmanship and disease control.

Additionally, the pig industry has launched a successful online system to record, benchmark and control antibiotic use, with data for millions of pigs already entered.

UK chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens said: "Those who work with animals have a key role to play in the global fight against antibiotic resistance to monitor use and reduce it wherever we can."

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