September 14, 2020
UK programme helps reduce antibiotics use in poultry sector by 76%
The British Poultry Council (BPC) has released its 2020 Antibiotic Stewardship Report which highlights the achievements made by the UK poultry meat sector's drive for excellence in bird health and welfare that's delivering responsible use of antibiotics and safeguarding the efficacy of antibiotics across the supply chain.
According to the new report, in the last seven years (2012-2019) the BPC Antibiotic Stewardship has helped achieve:
- a 76% reduction in the total use of antibiotics;
- a 97.3% reduction in the use of critically important antibiotics.
In 2019, the sector used 19.7 tonnes of antibiotics, accounting for 9.33% of the total antibiotics licensed for food producing animals.
BPC chief executive, Richard Griffiths, said: "With poultry being half the meat eaten in the UK, the British Poultry Council's Antibiotic Stewardship plays a vital role in delivering good bird health and welfare, ensuring the sustainable and responsible use of antibiotics, safeguarding the efficacy of antibiotics and helping produce food consumers trust.
"British poultry farmers and veterinarians need antibiotics in their toolbox to protect the health and welfare of birds. Delivering excellence in bird health and welfare is the foundation of responsible use of antibiotics and is about so much more than reduction targets. Zero use is neither ethical nor sustainable as it goes against a farmer's duty to address any health and welfare issues."
Griffiths added that that UK poultry meat industry is committed to maintaining the United Kingdom's position "to keep antibiotics effective for future generations and tackling antimicrobial resistance."
He said: "UK poultry meat producers have stopped all preventative treatments and the highest priority antibiotics that are critically important for humans are used only as a 'last resort' for chickens and turkeys.
"The sector is under the Government approved RUMA species-specific sector targets (25mg/pcu for chicken and 50 mg/pcu for turkeys) so our approach is working. Through more coordinated action between poultry farmers, veterinarians, producers as well as policy makers at local, regional, national and global levels, we will continue to preserve the efficacy of our antibiotics and contribute to turning the tide against antimicrobial resistance."