News from AMTRA

RUMA Antibiotics Report released

The RUMA Targets Task Force (TTF) summary report covers ten sectors across aquaculture, pigs, poultry and ruminants and provides the latest annual progress update in the second cycle of TTF goals across all UK livestock sectors for data collection, use of antibiotics, uptake of preventative measures such as vaccines and training, and the development of industry initiatives. This second cycle builds on the successful implementation of the last targets released back in 2017 which helped to halve sales of antibiotics to treat UK farm animals.

“RUMA has never prioritised one farming system over another to promote the responsible use of medicines. Whichever system of farming is used, it is important that animals are well cared for, their needs are met, they are healthy and if veterinary intervention is needed to counter a health challenge, it is done in a responsible manner. This principle also supports consumers who have a right to access good quality, safe, nutritious food, at a range of price points. This inclusive view point, allows the sharing of best practice across all farm management systems, a practise which has been instrumental in driving our Targets Task Force successes, and will continue to be used in RUMA’s activities.”

The latest RUMA Targets Task Force 2 (TTF2) progress report was released on 1 November 2023 and summarises the third year of progress against the current set of antibiotic use targets which span 2021-2024.

The report highlights where targets are already being achieved or sustained, and where challenges still remain. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s (VMD) UK-Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance Sales Surveillance (2022) Report was also released today, and shows that UK antibiotic sales for food-producing animals have reduced by 59% since 2014, to 25.7 mg/kg. This represents the lowest sales to date. Sales of Highest Priority Important Antibiotics (HP-CIAs) in food-producing animals remain at very low levels at 0.12 mg/kg in 2022 and account for less than 0.5% of total sales.

The RUMA TTF Report charts yet another positive year for U.K. agriculture in the responsible use of antibiotics. The RUMA Targets Task Force (TTF) targets continue to be largely exceeded, met or on track, and where use has been needed to address disease outbreak, this has been isolated and done so in the responsible, effective and efficient manner that the U.K. is known and recognised for.

RUMA Chair, Catherine McLaughlin, says: “UK agriculture is proud of its work to date on tackling AMR and, as we look ahead to the future, we will naturally start to see a shift in focus from reduction, to maintenance of the targets. It is important to highlight that zero use of antibiotics, be that across animal or human health, is neither viable nor responsible. People and animals do get sick at times even with the best health care and preventive plans in place, and antibiotics remain a key medicine in the treatment ‘toolbox’ to help people and animals recover. In those situations, antibiotics are rightfully needed and should be delivered under the mantra of ‘as little as possible, as much as necessary’. By only using antibiotics when truly needed, UK agriculture continues to play its role in tackling AMR and protecting the efficacy of these important medicines long into the future.”