The UK pig industry is stepping up to the antibiotic challenge on a number of fronts says the National Pig Association (NPA) in a comment issued to mark the start of World Antibiotic Awareness Week.
Designed to increase awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and encourage best practice globally to help the tackle the problem, this week’s focus has inevitably sparked renewed calls for restrictions in how antibiotics are used. The NPA has therefore responded by highlighting some of the positive steps the UK pig sector is already taking to implement its stewardship programme. These include:
- Data for 535 pig units covering nearly 6 million pigs has been entered into the industry database for antibiotic use
- Entering data onto AHDB Pork’s eMB-Pigs is likely to be made compulsory next year under the Red Tractor Pork assurance scheme, covering over 90 per cent of pig production
- Practices are changing on farms. For example, one of the UK’s biggest pig producing companies is in the process of stopping the administration of antibiotics through feed
- Awareness of the issue is rising rapidly across the pig industry. The topic has been discussed at numerous events over the past year, including, recently, at a ForFarmers conference in London, the NPA’s regional producer meetings and various events organised by veterinary companies for producers
- The Pig Veterinary Society’s autumn meeting in Edinburgh included a dedicated session on antimicrobial use and resistance, at which the Chief Veterinary Officer spoke.
- PVS will also be sharing best practice in antibiotic use at the London Vet Show this week.
- NPA is looking at strengthening the training requirements for pig farm staff responsible for administering antibiotics. For example, they may be expected to undertake a Certificate of Competence in responsible use of antibiotics in the future.
“We are all aware of the challenges that lie ahead but I am pleased to say we are making very good progress in implementing the NPA’s Antibiotic Stewardship Programme,” said NPA chief executive, Zoe Davies (pictured above)..
“We are proving, as we said after the O’Neill report was published in September, that we are up for the challenge. This is just the start, however. As an industry we are fully aware there is much more work to be done.”