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UK pig industry reduces antibiotic use 75% since 2015

Achievement highlights ‚Äėcollaborative efforts of farmers, veterinarians and stakeholders in the pig industry‚Äô

Antibiotics Eraser
Dmytro Kozak |

The United Kingdom (U.K.) pig industry has reduced its antibiotic use by 75% since 2015, according to the U.K.’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

For the period between 2020 and 2024, the U.K. pig industry surpassed the 30% reduction target in total antibiotic use set by the RUMA Targets Task Force (TTF).

The achievement highlights ‚Äúthe collaborative efforts of farmers, veterinarians and stakeholders in the pig industry‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúemphasizes their commitment to significantly reducing the use of antibiotics,‚ÄĚ AHDB said.

The latest figures show a 20% reduction in antibiotic usage for pigs on farms in 2022. Data collected by AHDB using the electronic Medicine Book (eMB), representing approximately 95% of pigs slaughtered in the U.K., show that antibiotic use in 2022 was 70mg/PCU, down from 87mg/PCU in 2021.

‚ÄúFarmers and vets should be extremely proud of the work they have done to demonstrate a responsible approach to antibiotic use. The extensive data set collated over the last eight years has provided robust evidence of progress and has helped vets and farmers work collaboratively to make changes on-farm and monitor that progress,‚ÄĚ said AHDB head of animal health and welfare, Dr. Mandy Nevel. "The eMB was an industry initiative facilitated by the Pig Health and Welfare Council, and over the last eight years, champions of the system, both farmers and vets, have led the industry on the road to responsible antibiotic use. It is wonderful to see what the industry collective can and has achieved.‚ÄĚ

AHDB analyzes the aggregated data and shares it with key stakeholders including the Pig Veterinary Society, National Pig Association, Pig Health and Welfare Council, RUMA and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD). This collaboration provides a comprehensive overview of antibiotic use in the sector, enabling the industry to identify opportunities for optimizing individual antibiotic usage.

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