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Poultry industry celebrates fall in on-farm antibiotic use

Staff Writer |
The British Poultry Council (BPC) has highlighted reductions in antibiotics use in the poultry sector. On Tuesday, the Council published its 2017 Antibiotic Stewardship Report.

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The report covers 2016, which BPC said was a year of enormous progress for the British poultry meat industry, marking as it did the end of prophylactic antibiotic use, the end of Colistin use (a "last resort" antibiotic in human medicine), and the establishment of new antibiotic standards for Red Tractor Poultry Assurance (these will come into force in October 2017).

Over the period of 2012 to 2016 the UK poultry meat sector reduced its use of antibiotics by weight by 71% (23.72 tonnes in 2016), despite an 11% increase in production over the same period.

Commenting on Tuesday, BPC Chairman John Reed said, “We are delighted with the progress we’ve made, but there is more work to be done. Our Antibiotic Stewardship continuously reviews on-farm management practices to ensure sustainable use of antibiotics throughout our supply chain.”

BPC said antibiotic use, and antimicrobial resistance, in humans and animals are amongst the biggest health challenges faced on a global scale. The UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies has said the issue poses a threat on par with climate change.

The industry group said it is taking the issue seriously, and highlighted that the poultry industry is the only livestock sector currently collating and publishing data in the UK. BPC said, “Data alone is not enough.

“We are committed to Clinical Governance and knowing how and why we use antibiotics. Livestock, like people, get ill, and will need antibiotics to preserve their health.”

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