Farmers in Wales are being urged to focus on using antibiotics effectively as part of a new awareness initiative launched by the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group and backed by the Welsh government.
“Prevention of disease is always better than cure and antibiotics should never be used as a substitute for good farm and animal management,” said Group member and veterinary surgeon, Ifan Lloyd, adding that farmers should look to their own vet for help in developing a farm health plan.
“This should include good housing, nutrition, preventative medicine (such as appropriate vaccination) and an effective biosecurity policy. This will build up herd and flock resilience to disease and reduce the need for treatment.”
He also urged farmers to work with their vet in using antibiotics responsibly and only when they think they are necessary.
“If your vet does prescribe antibiotics it will be after a clinical assessment of the animal or group to determine the most appropriate treatment,” he said. “It is important that you follow their instructions.”
Huw Davies, farmer and group member, added: “I’ve worked closely with my private vet to improve the health and welfare standards on my farm. We have reduced the lameness in our ewe flock from 8% to 1% with the targeted and veterinary approved use of antibiotics as part of a lameness reduction five point plan.”