May 17, 2018


UK pig industry reduces antibiotic use by over 50% in 2 years



The UK pig industry reduced antibiotic use by 28% in 2017, bringing the total reduction in two years to more than 50%.


Citing the latest data taken from the electronic medicine book (eMB), which represents 87% of pigs slaughtered in the UK, antibiotic use on pig farms dropped from 183 mg/PCU to 131 mg/PCU within 12 months, AHDB Pork reports.


The latest figure builds on a 34% cut in usage between 2015 and 2016.


It comes just seven months after targets were announced by the Targets Task Force, set up by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA), to reduce antibiotic use in the pig industry by over 60% between 2015 and 2020.


 "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", said Mandy Nevel, AHDB's senior veterinary manager.


Peter Borriello, chief executive officer of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, which developed the electronic medicine book together with AHDB Pork, said the "impressive" reductions in antibiotic use in 2017 "are the result of high-level collaboration across the industry to deliver on a challenging and rigorous ongoing plan to reduce and refine antibiotic use while maintaining the health and welfare of pigs."


The eMB is available to all UK producers and is supported by the Northern Ireland, Scottish and Welsh levy bodies.