The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed the sector-specific targets for reducing, refining or replacing antibiotic use across eight different livestock sectors: beef, dairy, eggs, fish, gamebird, pig, poultry meat and sheep.

Following the global Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) the government set a usage target of 50 mg/kg. Responding to today’s new targets, developed by the RUMA-facilitated Targets Task Force, BVA senior vice president Gudrun Ravetz said: “Antimicrobial resistance is a top concern for vets in the UK, with almost half listing it as the most pressing animal health and welfare issue we face.

“These evidence-based targets, developed with vital industry and veterinary input, offer significant and timely benchmarks for each livestock sector in their ongoing efforts to further reduce, refine or replace antibiotics. The targets come hot on the heels of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s report, which provide an encouraging starting-point with sales of antibiotic for use in livestock at a record low.”

BVA has been working jointly with stakeholders in government and the livestock industry as part of the RUMA Targets Task Force to set evidence-based targets for antibiotic reduction.

Mr Ravetz continued: “Antimicrobial resistance impacts upon the entire veterinary profession and all species. To reduce the risk of incentivising irresponsible use, BVA maintains that targets should use more than one appropriate metric wherever possible.

“We must remember that sector-specific targets are just one piece of the jigsaw when it comes to tackling the global threat of antimicrobial resistance. Continued collaboration between human and animal health sectors, underpinned by a commitment from each of us within the veterinary profession to maintain the highest standards of stewardship in using antibiotics, most especially Critically Important Antibiotics, is key to ensuring that we can preserve these essential medicines for future generations.”