Pig antibiotic stewardship programme launched

The National Pig Association (NPA) is to launch an antibiotic stewardship programme to help achieve minimum use of antibiotics. 

“We recognise and share society’s concerns about the level of antibiotic use in human and livestock medicine,” said NPA chief executive Dr Zoe Davies. “In particular we acknowledge the risk, albeit small, of antibiotic resistance developing in bacteria in pigs and this resistance spreading to humans.”

Working with the Pig Veterinary Society (PVS), AHDB Pork, and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to progress its initiatives, the main goal of the NPA’s new stewardship programme will be to collect both quantitative and qualitative data on current use of antibiotics in British pig husbandry. This will be achieved through the industry’s newly-introduced online medicines book, created by AHDB Pork working with the VMD.

Dr Georgina Crayford, NPA senior policy advisor, added: “Although antibiotic resistance in humans is largely caused by over-use and misuse of antibiotics in human medicine, the British pig industry has a duty to ensure it does not contribute to the problem.

“Overall sales of antibiotics for use in livestock in the UK sit mid-range compared with other European Union countries. We acknowledge the current perception that antibiotic use in our pig industry may be higher than in some other countries, but we don’t have any data to demonstrate what our actual on-farm usage is, hence the need for action.”

Other goals of the programme include benchmarking each farm’s antibiotic use against other farms of a similar type; extending education in effective disease control strategies; reducing antibiotic use to a level consistent with responsible human and food-animal medicine; promote veterinary prescribing principles to strictly limit the use of antibiotics of critical importance to human health and the appointment of Stewardship Commissars to review industry’s use of antimicrobials and to champion initiatives.

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