Chief vet uses twitter chat to answer industry questions on AMR

The NPA and NFU made strong contributions to today’s high profile twitter chat on the issues surrounding the use of antibiotics in farming, hosted by the UK’s chief vet, Nigel Gibbens, and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Evidence & Research and Veterinary Director, Javier Domínguez.

One key question from the NFU, for example, was: “What plans does Defra have in place for including AMR in post-Brexit trade deals?”

The answer from Mr Gibbens was: “We want to see action globally so that trade is protected. It helps that 193 countries have just signed up to the UN AMR resolution.”

The NPA joined in, asking: “Does Defra recognise that high health and low antibiotic use can be achieved on UK pig units, regardless of production system?”

Mr Gibbens replied: “Absolutely. But for some units that will require improvements, so that all the risks to health are reduced.”

Later, in response to another question (not from NPA this time), he added: “It is wrong to associate AMR risks with particular systems. Extensive systems can present disease risks. Great management is (the) key.”

The NPA then asked FSA’s Mr Domínguez: “Will FSA ensure that any findings of resistant bacteria on food is reported in the context of risk?”

He replied: Yes! FSA is an evidence-based organisation.”

Back with Mr Gibbens and a question posed by Lincolnshire pig farmer, Gareth Virgo, who wanted to know if the chief vet was saying “yes” to helping dispel the release of misinformation concerning AMR.

“Absolutely,” said Mr Gibbens, “and on both sides of the debate. We don’t want scare stories, but we do need to act where it is needed.”

Revisit the one-hour twitter chat at #AMR

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