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10 January 2017 11:21:17 |Animal Health,News

RUMA triples funding to help further UK farming away from antibiotic use


Food and farming industry triples support for collaborative action on antibiotics

Food and farming industry triples support for collaborative action on antibiotics

Funding for the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance has more than tripled in a bid to further help UK farming play its part in the global drive to reduce antibiotic use across animal and human medicine.
The funding will take the form of increased subscriptions from RUMA members.
RUMA chair, Gwyn Jones, says it is indicative of the industry’s 'deepening commitment' to work alongside the human medical community in reducing, refining and replacing use of antibiotics globally.
The alliance hopes this will build on the successful 10% reduction in UK farm animal use in 2015.
Mr Jones said: “RUMA’s new five-year plan is focused on leadership, supporting and co-ordinating sector-led reductions in the use of antibiotics, inspiring greater levels of responsible use among farmers, and increasing awareness among policy-makers and the general public of the facts as well as challenges and achievements.
“While stewarding use of antibiotics in human medicine to reduce the risk from resistant bacteria is a pressing priority, farming has an important role to play in reducing risk of resistance developing through the food chain.”
'Treatment without compromising welfare'
Mr Jones said the biggest challenge facing farming is how to reduce animal treatment with antibiotics without compromising welfare.
He said: “A well thought-out, science-based approach that improves natural immunity, reduces disease burden and finds different ways to manage infection is essential to protect the well-being of animals.
“There is no silver bullet – it’s about small incremental changes that are carefully tried and tested before implementation.”
The RUMA Alliance, which is 20 years old this year, is widely credited with defining the current best-practice standards which have seen the UK’s way to being among the lower users of antibiotics on-farm in Europe.
The independent Alliance has also been the 'pioneer' initiative globally, sharing best practice with countries such as Ireland and Canada, as well as the model for EPRUMA – the European Platform for the Responsible Use of Medicines in Animals.
RUMA has ramped up activities in anticipation of increased funding, including the creation of a Targets Task Force in December that will co-ordinate the different farming sectors as they identify meaningful objectives for refining their use of antibiotics.
The Alliance has also recently welcomed the British Meat Processors’ Association and the British Trout Association as members, meaning it now spans all sectors from game to poultry, fish, cattle, sheep and pigs, and all levels of the supply chain from organisations that supply farmers through to retailers.
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