The importance of using antibiotics responsibly on farms is being championed by City & Guilds, following lengthy discussions with the National Pig Association (NPA).
City & Guilds, a leading body in skills development, has updated its Safe Use of Veterinary Medicines Certificate of Competence to reflect the growing awareness around the UK livestock sector of the need to respond to the antibiotic challenge.
The qualification, which is open to anybody who works with agricultural livestock, is designed to help ensure best practice is always followed while recognising the suitability of individuals to safely and effectively provide basic treatments.
“We are delighted the guidance has been updated,” said NPA vice chairman, Richard Longthorp, who led the association’s talks with City & Guilds. “This means all people who work with livestock now have training and certification available to them that recognises the significant and growing challenge of using antibiotics responsibly.
“The pig sector is already making great strides in rising to the challenge and this is yet another tool in the armoury to demonstrate our professional approach to safe and responsible use of veterinary medicines.”
City & Guilds has therefore added new elements to the qualification, with an “overarching emphasis” on replacing, reducing, refining antibiotic usage to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance in farm animals and the human population. The new elements cover:
- How antimicrobial resistance arises and spreads, and how to avoid it
- Avoiding routine use of antibiotics and ensuring they are not normally the first option
- Recognising the importance of diagnostics, biosecurity and good management in controlling disease
- Recognising when antibiotics are likely to be ineffective, for example against viruses and when resistance is present
- Why ‘critically important antibiotics’ should be used only as a last-resort.
The organisation is also republishing its handbook to reflect the additional requirements.