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15 May 2018 14:08:06 |Animal Health,News,Pigs

Pig industry reduces antibiotic use by 28 percent in 2017


The 2017 reduction means the pig industry has more than halved its antibiotic usage within the last two years

The 2017 reduction means the pig industry has more than halved its antibiotic usage within the last two years

The pig industry has welcomed latest figures which show it has reduced antibiotic usage in the UK by 28 per cent in 2017, bringing the total reduction in two years to more than 50 per cent.
According to the latest data taken from the electronic medicine book (eMB), which represents 87 per cent of pigs slaughtered in the UK, antibiotic usage on pig farms dropped from 183 mg/PCU to 131 mg/PCU within 12 months.
The mg/PCU is a unit of measurement developed by the European Medicines Agency to monitor antibiotic use and sales across Europe, which has also been adopted by the UK.
PCU refers to the ‘Population Correction Unit’ and takes into account the animal population as well as the estimated weight of each particular animal at the time of treatment with antibiotics.
The 2017 reduction means the pig industry has more than halved its antibiotic usage within the last two years – with the latest figure building on a 34 per cent cut in usage between 2015 and 2016.
The news has been welcomed by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and pig industry bodies such as the National Pig Association (NPA) and the British Pig Association (BPA).


It comes just seven months after targets were announced by the Targets Task Force to reduce antibiotic usage in the pig industry by over 60 per cent between 2015 and 2020.
AHDB’s Senior Veterinary Manager Mandy Nevel said: “This is a great industry effort with all parties fully engaged and determined to demonstrate responsible use of antibiotics in pigs. We must keep up the momentum to reduce use further in order to achieve our target of 99 mg/PCU by 2020.”
Electronic medicine book
Developed by AHDB Pork and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), the electronic medicine book is available to all UK producers and is supported by the Northern Ireland, Scottish and Welsh levy bodies.
It provides an electronic version of the paper medicines book to record and quantify usage so producers can review and optimise their on-farm antibiotic use.
Since October last year, it became a Red Tractor requirement that quarterly antibiotic data are entered into eMB.
Prof Peter Borriello, Chief Executive Officer of the VMD, said: “These achievements are the result of high level collaboration across the industry to deliver on a challenging and rigorous on-going plan to reduce and refine antibiotic use, while maintaining the health and welfare of pigs.”


Christine Middlemiss, the UK Chief Veterinary Officer (CV), added: “The reduction in antibiotic usage achieved by the UK pig industry over the last two years are excellent. This has been achieved by the sector working together and following a clear agreed plan of action, which is focused on responsible reductions alongside the prevention and management of disease.
“This approach is essential for the sustainability of British agriculture and will help to maintain the effectiveness of antibiotics in the future.”




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