November 24, 2020


Antibiotic use in UK pig industry falls 60% from 2015



Sales of antibiotics - those used to treat livestock breed for food production - in the United Kingdom have halved since 2014, according to RUMA's Targets Task Force Report 2020.


Antibiotic usage in the UK pig sector has dropped by 60% from the 278 mg/kg PCU starting point in 2015 to 110mg/kg PCU in 2018 and 2019, with a provisional 2020 figure up to and including June 2020 of 104mg/kg PCU. This is just above the 99mg/kg target set to finish out 2020.


The use of highest priority critically important antibiotics (HP-CIAs) was reduced to 0.04mg/kg PCU in 2019, which is below the 2015 baseline of 1mg/kg PCU.


Targets for 2024 have been set for the pig industry including reducing antibiotic use by a further 30%. Other targets include:


- Identifying and supporting "persistently high users" (PHUs) in achieving reductions in antibiotic usage as detailed in a unit specific Antibiotic Reduction Plan agreed by producers and vets. PHUs will be defined as the top 5% of antibiotic users in each of the main categories of production recorded by eMB, except boar studs and gilt units, calculated using the last four quarters' rolling data;


- Developing a best-practice plan for weaner management, against the backdrop of a likely ban on therapeutic zinc oxide;


- Encouraging the move from in-feed to in-water administration of antibiotics.